First used in English around 1540–50. From Latin Cynicus (cynic philosopher), from Ancient Greek Κυνικός (Kunikós, literally “doglike, currish”), from κύων (kúōn, “dog”) + -ικός (-ikós); see Proto-Indo-European *ḱwṓ. The word may have first been applied to Cynics because of the nickname κύων (kúōn, “dog”) given to Diogenes of Sinope, the prototypical Cynic.
Cynic (plural Cynics)
- A member of a sect of Ancient Greek philosophers who believed virtue to be the only good and self-control to be the only means of achieving virtue.
Cynic (not comparable)
- Of or relating to the Cynics.
- “Cynic” in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 2000, →ISBN.