cynic


cynic
/sin"ik/, n.
1. a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.
2. (cap.) 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.
3. a person who shows or expresses a bitterly or sneeringly cynical attitude.
adj.
4. cynical.
5. (cap.) Also, Cynical. of or pertaining to the Cynics or their doctrines.
6. Med. Now Rare. resembling the actions of a snarling dog.
[1540-50; < L Cynicus < Gk Kynikós Cynic, lit., doglike, currish, equiv. to kyn- (s. of kýon) dog + -ikos - IC]
Syn. 1, 3. skeptic, pessimist, misanthrope.

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▪ ancient Greek philosophy
 any member of a Greek philosophical sect that flourished from the 4th century BCE to well into Christian times and was distinguished more for its unconventional way of life than for any system of thought. Antisthenes, a disciple of Socrates, is considered to be the founder of the movement, but Diogenes (q.v.) of Sinope was its paradigm. He strove to destroy social conventions (including family life) as a way of returning to a “natural” life. Toward this end he lived as a vagabond pauper, slept in public buildings, and begged his food. He also advocated shamelessness (performing actions that were harmful to no one but unconventional in certain circumstances), outspokenness (to further his cause), and training in austerity.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Cynic — Cyn ic (s[i^]n [i^]k), Cynical Cyn ic*al ( [i^]*kal), a. [L. cynicus of the sect of Cynics, fr. Gr. kyniko s, prop., dog like, fr. ky wn, kyno s, dog. See {Hound}.] 1. Having the qualities of a surly dog; snarling; captious; currish. I hope it is …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Cynic — Cyn ic, n. (Gr. Philos) 1. One of a sect or school of philosophers founded by Antisthenes, and of whom Diogenes was a disciple. The first Cynics were noted for austere lives and their scorn for social customs and current philosophical opinions.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cynic — ► NOUN 1) a person who has little faith in the integrity or sincerity of others. 2) a sceptic. 3) (Cynic) (in ancient Greece) a member of a school of philosophers founded by Antisthenes, characterized by an ostentatious contempt for wealth and… …   English terms dictionary

  • Cynic — Allgemeine Informationen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • cynic — mid 16c., in reference to the ancient philosophy, from Gk. kynikos a follower of Antisthenes, lit. dog like, from kyon (gen. kynos) dog (see CANINE (Cf. canine)). Supposedly from the sneering sarcasm of the philosophers, but more likely from… …   Etymology dictionary

  • cynic — cynic, cynical Cynical is the adjective form used in the meaning ‘doubting human sincerity or integrity’ and has developed a further meaning ‘disregarding normal rules or standards’, as in a cynical foul, a cynical tackle, etc. Cynic is used with …   Modern English usage

  • cynic — [n] nonbeliever carper, caviler, detractor, disbeliever, doubter, doubting Thomas*, egoist, egotist, flouter, misanthrope, misanthropist, misogamist, misogynist, mocker, pessimist, questioner, satirist, scoffer, skeptic, sneerer, unbeliever;… …   New thesaurus

  • cynic — [sin′ik] n. [L Cynicus < Gr kynikos, lit., doglike, as if < kyōn, dog (see HOUND1), nickname of Diogenes, but prob. in allusion to the Kynosarges, a gymnasium where the Cynics taught (< kyōn + argos, lit., white dog, so named after an… …   English World dictionary


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