cynic


cynic
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 Kynosarge "Gray Dog," name of the gymnasium outside ancient Athens (for the use of those who were not pure Athenians) where the founder, Antisthenes (a pupil of Socrates), taught. Diogenes was the most famous. Popular association even in ancient times was "dog-like" (Lucian has kyniskos "a little cynic," lit. "puppy"). Meaning "sneering sarcastic person" is from 1590s.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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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

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  • 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