October 26, 2012
cynic (noun)
\SIN-ik\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a person who distrusts people; especially : one who believes that people act only in self-interest
How do you use it?
Everyone was disappointed that the outdoor performance of the play was canceled, except Ellie, the cynic, who said she wasn't surprised.
Are you a word wiz?

Our word "cynic" traces back through French and Latin ultimately to the Greek word "kyon," which refers to a particular animal. Which animal do you think it is?

An ancient Greek group of philosophers known as the Cynics met at a gymnasium called the Kynosarges, from which the Greek name of the group, "kynikoi" or "doglike ones," may be derived. A famous member of the group, Diogenes of Sinope, earned his own "dog" name. Diogenes believed that the rules of polite society made it difficult to satisfy wants and desires. Since such wants were only natural, he felt they should not be considered immoral. This shameless attitude earned him the nickname "ho kyon," meaning "the dog." Today it is not the Cynics' shamelessness but their criticism of society that is remembered in the word "cynic."
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