[ sin-ik ]
/ ˈsɪn ɪk /
Save This Word!


a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.
(initial capital letter) one of a sect of Greek philosophers, 4th century b.c., who advocated the doctrines that virtue is the only good, that the essence of virtue is self-control, and that surrender to any external influence is beneath human dignity.
a person who shows or expresses a bitterly or sneeringly cynical attitude.


(initial capital letter)Also Cynical. of or relating to the Cynics or their doctrines.
Medicine/Medical Now Rare. resembling the actions of a snarling dog.



Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between it’s and its in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 12
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of cynic

1540–50; <Latin Cynicus <Greek Kynikós Cynic, literally, doglike, currish, equivalent to kyn- (stem of kýōn ) dog + -ikos -ic
an·ti·cyn·ic, noun, adjective
cynic , optimist, pessimist, skeptic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for cynic (1 of 2)

/ (ˈsɪnɪk) /


a person who believes the worst about people or the outcome of events


a less common word for cynical
astronomy of or relating to Sirius, the Dog Star
C16: via Latin from Greek Kunikos, from kuōn dog

British Dictionary definitions for cynic (2 of 2)

/ (ˈsɪnɪk) /


a member of a sect founded by Antisthenes that scorned worldly things and held that self-control was the key to the only good
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Hate Typos? Get Grammar Coach