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Definition of "cynical" []

  • Believing or showing the belief that people are motivated chiefly by base or selfish concerns; skeptical of the motives of others: a cynical dismissal of the politician's promise to reform the campaign finance system. (adjective)
  • Selfishly or callously calculating: showed a cynical disregard for the safety of his troops in his efforts to advance his reputation. (adjective)
  • Negative or pessimistic, as from world-weariness: a cynical view of the average voter's intelligence. (adjective)
  • Expressing jaded or scornful skepticism or negativity: cynical laughter. (adjective)
  • Distrustful or contemptuous of virtue, esp selflessness in others; believing the worst of others, esp that all acts are selfish (adjective)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • Sarcastic; mocking (adjective)
  • Showing contempt for accepted standards of behaviour, esp of honesty or morality (adjective)

www.Collinsdictionary.com (c) HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2016

Use "cynical" in a sentence
  • "His argument is clear: any politician who charms and inspires the voters, who talks in generalities and abstractions, is engaging in what he calls the cynical politics of celebrity marketing, turning himself to into a product."
  • "Though Mesa admires the democratic principles on which the U.S. was founded, he opposes what he terms the cynical lack of application of those values, including the denial of due process to Guantanamo detainees under former President Bush."
  • "When I'm met with people who wanna remain "cynical" and entertained while the US is slaughtering tens of thousands of people in Asia and ruining a good bit of their own landmass, I either get tongue-tied or abusive."