Definition of cynicism in English:



  • 1An inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest; skepticism.

    ‘public cynicism about politics’
    • ‘A recurrent thread in the debate over public cynicism is the apparent establishment of "two sets of rules."’
    • ‘MH apparently is unaware of the depths of his own political cynicism.’
    • ‘The press, enjoying a freedom also long established in Dutch tradition, denounced the cynicism of the new Directory.’
    • ‘If Clemenceau was galvanized by his cynicism, Mandel was paralysed by his.’
    • ‘Their run to the top of the standings is cause for cynicism.’
    • ‘At the same time, there is still a degree of protective cynicism.’
    • ‘Leblance also believes that a rise in cynicism may be to blame for lower interest in student journalism.’
    • ‘The way the trial was handled has increased cynicism among Malays.’
    • ‘Bill's poll-based views, his `parsing' of the truth, contributed to greater cynicism about politicians.’
    • ‘He has presided over a marked increase in public cynicism about politics without suffering significant damage to his own electoral prospects.’
    • ‘The level of cynicism which is brought to many anecdotal accounts used in journalism could equally be levelled at official documentation.’
    • ‘This administration seems to have a really dangerous and disturbing mix of cynicism and stupidity as their driving motive.’
    • ‘He added to the widespread cynicism felt about Australian politicians.’
    • ‘I share Rahul Verma's cynicism about the coverage of the Behzti furore.’
    • ‘It has contributed to a lowering of investment returns and to public's growing cynicism about pension planning.’
    • ‘Failure to take meaningful account of the opinions of the people you canvass is a sure way to engender cynicism.’
    • ‘Gephardt referred to cynicism, loss of faith in the political system and the decline in voting.’
    • ‘Personally however words like ' authentic ' are just to problematic to use without the necessary aura of cynicism.’
    • ‘The incompetence, the lies, the bullying, the cynicism, the cover-ups.’
    • ‘I wonder whether wifely cynicism about a husband's mild illness or impermanent injury doesn't have a lot to do with fear.’
    scepticism, doubt, distrust, mistrust, doubtfulness, suspicion, disbelief, incredulity, unbelief, scoffing
    pessimism, negative thinking, negativity, world-weariness, disillusion, disenchantment
    dubiety, sardonicism
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An inclination to question whether something will happen or whether it is worthwhile; pessimism.
      ‘cynicism about the future’
      • ‘Most books with names like this one are inferior works filled with an ersatz cynicism that pales beside the real article.’
      • ‘The cynicism, or boredom or maybe numbing hope that it was all going to be over soon - that we'd see the tyrant of Iraq in a coffin.’
      • ‘The cynicism of many claims of cultural relativism can also be seen in the fact that far too often they are for foreign consumption only.’
      • ‘He is being driven mad by the all-pervasive cynicism of modern Britain.’
      • ‘Not all Mosteller's Bayesian suspicions, some of which verge on cynicism, have proved well founded.’
      • ‘Sick of his persona - delicate emotions paired off with caustic cynicism - he creates a bogus doppelganger to hide behind.’
      • ‘Neither change has yet been enacted because political scruples intervened at some stage in the march of cynicism.’
      • ‘Jha restores our faith - increasingly frayed by cynicism - in the idealism of youth.’
      • ‘While some fat cat cynicism may linger, many are eager to have an inspirational leader that they can admire - and trust.’
      • ‘This would provide a sharp contrast to the mindless cynicism too often preached in the schools today.’
      • ‘Cynicism about the potential for policy to make a difference is widespread.’
      • ‘Your admitted cynicism is misplaced.’
      • ‘The phenomenon which is denounced in culture criticism as cynicism, as cynical mass business, should be a new access to the soul.’
      • ‘For The Book Show journalist Rachel Carbonell read Flat Earth News with a healthy dose of cynicism.’
      • ‘But today, the combination of American moralizing at home and cynicism abroad could severely harm relations between Europe and the United States.’
      • ‘Yet Rogers himself retained a healthy cynicism about the artistic merits of his brainchild.’
      • ‘Cynicism was high in the courtroom, however, and the show went on.’
      • ‘They applauded anything that happened on stage; a welcome relief from the normal cynicism of London audiences.’
      • ‘Still, there's no contempt or cynicism in Ryan's attitude here.’
      • ‘Considering the level of cynicism of the citizens with our politicians today, do you really believe talented people would want to join any party now?’
  • 2A school of ancient Greek philosophers, the Cynics.