Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others: the public cynicism aroused by governmental scandals.
  • n. A scornfully or jadedly negative comment or act: "She arrived at a philosophy of her own, all made up of her private notations and cynicisms” ( Henry James).
  • n. The beliefs of the ancient Cynics.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a distrustful attitude
  • n. an emotion of jaded negativity, or a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of other people. Cynicism can manifest itself by frustration, disillusionment and distrust in regard to organizations, authorities and other aspects of society, often due to previous bad experience. Cynics often view others as motivated solely by disguised self-interest.
  • n. a skeptical, scornful or pessimistic comment or act

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The doctrine of the Cynics; the quality of being cynical; the mental state, opinions, or conduct, of a cynic; morose and contemptuous views and opinions.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The body of doctrine inculcated and practised by the Cynics; indifference to pleasure; stoicism pushed to austerity, asceticism, or acerbity.
  • n. The character or state of being cynical; cynicalness.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a cynical feeling of distrust

Etymologies

From Cynicism, cynic +‎ -ism; compare cynism (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • An unpleasant way of stating the facts.

    May 19, 2009

  • A grizzled ole timer with pad and pencil was asking passersby:
    “Pardon, but is ‘cynicism’ spelled with two ‘I’s’ or one ‘me’?�?

    --Jan Cox

    August 31, 2007