adjective cyn·i·cal \ˈsi-ni-kəl\

: believing that people are generally selfish and dishonest

: selfish and dishonest in a way that shows no concern about treating other people fairly

Full Definition of CYNICAL

:  having or showing the attitude or temper of a cynic: as
a :  contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives <those cynical men who say that democracy cannot be honest and efficient — F. D. Roosevelt>
b :  based on or reflecting a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest <a cynical ploy to win votes>
cyn·i·cal·ly \-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of CYNICAL

  1. Cynical people say there is no such thing as true love.
  2. People are so cynical nowadays.
  3. She's become more cynical in her old age.
  4. Some people regard the governor's visit to the hospital as a cynical attempt to win votes.
  5. … if more and more people out there are willing to kill themselves in order to kill us, we've got to give the poor and cynical of the world something positive to believe in. —Robert Reich, Prospect, February 2003

Origin of CYNICAL

(see cynic)
First Known Use: 1542

Synonym Discussion of CYNICAL

cynical, misanthropic, pessimistic mean deeply distrustful. cynical implies having a sneering disbelief in sincerity or integrity <cynical about politicians' motives>. misanthropic suggests a rooted distrust and dislike of human beings and their society <a solitary and misanthropic artist>. pessimistic implies having a gloomy, distrustful view of life <pessimistic about the future>.

Rhymes with CYNICAL

CYNICAL Defined for Kids


adjective cyn·i·cal \ˈsi-nə-kəl\

Definition of CYNICAL for Kids

:  believing that people are selfish and dishonest


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