Cynic

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n cynic someone who is critical of the motives of others
    • n Cynic a member of a group of ancient Greek philosophers who advocated the doctrine that virtue is the only good and that the essence of virtue is self-control
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Cynic 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. Hence the term Cynic symbolized, in the popular judgment, moroseness, and contempt for the views of others.
    • Cynic One who holds views resembling those of the Cynics; a snarler; a misanthrope; particularly, a person who believes that human conduct is directed, either consciously or unconsciously, wholly by self-interest or self-indulgence, and that appearances to the contrary are superficial and untrustworthy. "He could obtain from one morose cynic , whose opinion it was impossible to despise, scarcely any not acidulated with scorn."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • cynic Of or pertaining to a dog; dog-like: as, cynic spasm.
    • cynic Of or pertaining to the dog-star: as, the cynic year.
    • cynic Belonging to the sect of philosophers called Cynics; resembling the doctrines of the Cynics.
    • cynic Having the character or qualities of a cynic; cynical.
    • n cynic [capitalized] One of a sect of Greek philosophers founded by Antisthenes of Athens (born about 444 b. c.), who sought to develop the ethical teachings of Socrates, whose pupil he was. The chief doctrines of the Cynics were that virtue is the only good, that the essence of virtue is self-control, and that pleasure is an evil if sought for its own sake. They were accordingly characterized by an ostentatious contempt of riches, arts, science, and amusements. The most famous Cynic was Diogenes of Sinope, a pupil of Antisthenes, who carried the doctrines of the school to an extreme and ridiculous asceticism, and is improbably said to have slept in a tub which he carried about with him.
    • n cynic A person of a cynical temper; a sneering faultfinder.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Cynic sin′ik dog-like: surly: snarling: austere; misanthropic
    • Cynic one of a sect of philosophers founded by Antisthenes of Athens (born c. 444 B.C.), characterised by an ostentatious contempt for riches, arts, science, and amusements—so called from their morose manners: a morose man: a snarler
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Quotations

  • Tracy Chapman
    Tracy Chapman
    “I'm a hopeful cynic.”
  • H. L. Mencken
    H.%20L.%20Mencken
    “The cynics are right nine times out of ten.”
  • George Meredith
    George%20Meredith
    “Cynicism is intellectual dandyism.”
  • Henry Lewis Stimson
    Henry Lewis Stimson
    “The only deadly sin I know is cynicism.”
  • Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
    Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
    “Cynicism is the humor of hatred.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”

Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. kynikos, dog-like—kyōn, kynos, a dog; cf. L. can-is.

Usage

In literature:

There was a quiet, cynical smile on his face as he sat there beating a tattoo on his leggings with a hickory twig.
"The Soldier of the Valley" by Nelson Lloyd
According to a well-known cynical dictum a diplomatist is a man who is paid to lie for his country.
"Armageddon--And After" by W. L. Courtney
They have been pitied as insane, avoided as cynical, or passed over as frivolous.
"Is Life Worth Living?" by William Hurrell Mallock
Her cynicism is always illuminating.
"The Black Cat" by John Todhunter
I hear the voice of the Cynic.
"Bohemian Society" by Lydia Leavitt
Isidorus the platonist and Salustius the Cynic were among the learned men of greatest note who then withdrew from Alexandria.
"History Of Egypt From 330 B.C. To The Present Time, Volume 11 (of 12)" by S. Rappoport
He was keen, cynical, and jealous of the power and authority of Antrim.
"The Trail Horde" by Charles Alden Seltzer
Of cynicism, of the wit that preys upon carrion, there is less than nothing.
"An Introduction to the Study of Browning" by Arthur Symons
There was something cynical in his ree-raw independence.
"The House by the Church-Yard" by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
His face was cynical and rather amused.
"Red Hair" by Elinor Glyn
His dissatisfied eyes were cynical when he rallied his companion.
"Visionaries" by James Huneker
He is cynical about the best part of himself and to-night only wishes that it would trouble him less.
"Great Possessions" by Mrs. Wilfrid Ward
She dismissed that impression with indignation as ungenerously cynical, but it always came back for redismissal.
"Hilda" by Sarah Jeanette Duncan
He became a cynic in order the more intimately to know the masses.
"History of the Girondists, Volume I" by Alphonse de Lamartine
Cynically, they checked to see who might be preparing to unload stock.
"Operation: Outer Space" by William Fitzgerald Jenkins
Be sure that no one knows so little of his fellow-men, as the cynical, misanthropic man, who walks in darkness, because he hates his brother.
"Westminster Sermons with a Preface" by Charles Kingsley
Richard, his cynicism touching the elbow of his dream, caught himself sourly smiling.
"The President" by Alfred Henry Lewis
It has been said of Thackeray that he was a cynic.
"Thackeray" by Anthony Trollope
Shakespeare was no cynic.
"Shakespeare and the Modern Stage" by Sir Sidney Lee
This is the trick of the Cynic.
"Practical Ethics" by William DeWitt Hyde
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In poetry:

Nay, lad and lass, don't flout romance,
Nor heed this cynical old sinner;
Like bold Columbus take a chance,
And may your number be a winner.
"The Lottery" by Robert W Service
Such thoughts, I know, to-day are flouted;
"Have statues souls?" the cynic sneers;
But I am happier to have doubted,
And loved thee thus these many years.
"Leo" by John Lawson Stoddard
A song of the setting sun!
The sky in the west is red,
And the day is all but done:
While yonder up overhead,
All too soon,
There rises, so cold, the cynic moon.
"Moritura" by Ernest Christopher Dowson
"And is this all?" the cynic sneers,
"The remnant of a shrine?"
Alas for him who never hears
Or heeds the world divine
And in this fragment fails to see
A stepping-stone to Deity!
"Delio Patri" by John Lawson Stoddard
SUCH kindness! the scowl of a cynic would soften,
His pulse beat its way to some eloquent words,
Alas! my poor accents have echoed too often,
Like that Pinafore music you've some of you heard.
"In Response" by Oliver Wendell Holmes
FOOLS can parrot-cry the prophet when the proof is close at hand,
And the blind can see the danger when the foe is in the land!
Truth was never cynicism, death or ruin’s not a joke,
“Told-you-so” is not a warning—Patriotism not a croak.
"Since the Cities are the Cities" by Henry Lawson

In news:

Sacramento's Late, Cynical Push on Jobs.
Romney's cynical view of voter turnout.
Put simply, Obama says he foresaw how Republicans would successfully and cynically exploit the economy to win a House majority to then successfully and cynically harm the economy in a bid to block his re-election.
Obama for America, " Cynical ".
' Cynical ' policy tacitly encourages illegal immigration.
' Cynical ' policy tacitly encourages illegal immigrationRelated article.
Don't trust the B—' is an anti-heroine for these cynical times.
I'm Tired of this Cynical , Lie-Filled Election.
I have long thought that journalists must make a special effort to resist cynicism .
Mitt Romney's Cynical Tax Ruse.
Prop 32 is a cynical attempt to tip balance in favor of the wealthy.
Star-crossed 'Misfits,' a cynical 'Horse,' an 'Unhinged' rarity and more.
I've been impugned lately for my apparent cynicism .
Certainly some libertarians are cynics, but the core of libertarianism is skepticism, not cynicism .
This weekend's column: A vote of cynical surrender.
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In science:

It is, on the contrary, because the resulting world-view is so much more integrated, and makes more sense in so many ways, than any previous world-view, and certainly more than the cynical pragmatism which too often nowadays serves as surrogate for a world-view amongst scientists.
Definability in the Real Universe
It is wrong to be cynical about such an exercise, but it is correct to be disappointed.
Theoretical Summary Lecture for EPS HEP99
While the data indeed can be improved and polished, one might be inclined to draw a somewhat cynical summary: ”Charm – from a revolutionary to a petit bourgeois!” Such evolutions do indeed often happen in history; I will however argue that it is decidedly wrong here.
Heavy Flavour Physics: On Its More Than 50 Years Of History, Its Future And The Rio Manifesto
According to Simplicius, Diogenes the Cynic after hearing this argument from Zeno’s followers silently stood up and walked, so pointing out that it is a matter of the most common experience that things in fact do move .
Zeno meets modern science
Were we wearing our cynical hat today, we might say that the scientist who wants to become famous is better off—by a wide margin—writing a modest paper in next year’s hottest field than an outstanding paper in this year’s.
The first-mover advantage in scientific publication
In fact, this is more cynical than the finite size of the universe postulated through big bang theory.
Causal set as a discretized phase spacetime
Cynics will say that the Pomeron structure function revealed by the S p ¯pS experiment is no more than a remnant of the cuts on the data.
Blois V: Summary Talk
This caused somewhat cynical approach to the theory among some of the polarimetry practitioners who preferred to be guided in their work by the following rules of thumb: Al l grains are always aligned and the alignment happens with the longer grain axes perpendicular to magnetic field.
Polarized Foreground Emission from Dust: Grain Alignment and MHD Turbulence
Computing determinants is invariably in demand from all sorts of mathematical domains and needs neither cynical advocacy nor does it lack motivation.
Play time with determinants
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