Definition of cynic noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈsɪnɪk//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɪnɪk//
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  1. 1a person who believes that people only do things to help themselves, rather than for good or sincere reasons Don’t be such a cynic!
  2. 2a person who does not believe that something good will happen or that something is important Cynics will say that there is not the slightest chance of success.
  3. Word Originmid 16th cent. originally relating to a member of a school of ancient Greek philosophers founded by Antisthenes: from Latin cynicus, from Greek kunikos; probably originally from Kunosarges, the name of a school where Antisthenes taught, but popularly taken to mean ‘doglike, churlish’, kuōn, kun-, ‘dog’ becoming a nickname for a Cynic.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: cynic