[sin-uh-siz-uh m]
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Origin of cynicism

First recorded in 1665–75; cynic + -ism
Related formsan·ti·cyn·i·cism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for cynicism


  1. the attitude or beliefs of a cynic
  2. a cynical action, remark, idea, etc


  1. the doctrines of the Cynics
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

Word Origin and History for cynicism

1670s, "philosophy of the Cynics," from cynic + -ism. Meaning "cynical character" is from 1847. For nuances of usage of cynicism, see humor.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper