/sin"ik/, n.1. a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.2. (cap.) one of a sect of Greek philosophers, 4th century B.C., who advocated the doctrines that virtue is the only good, that the essence of virtue is self-control, and that surrender to any external influence is beneath human dignity.3. a person who shows or expresses a bitterly or sneeringly cynical attitude.adj.4. cynical.6. Med. Now Rare. resembling the actions of a snarling dog.[1540-50; < L Cynicus < Gk Kynikós Cynic, lit., doglike, currish, equiv. to kyn- (s. of kýon) dog + -ikos - IC]Syn. 1, 3. skeptic, pessimist, misanthrope.
* * *▪ ancient Greek philosophyany member of a Greek philosophical sect that flourished from the 4th century BCE to well into Christian times and was distinguished more for its unconventional way of life than for any system of thought. Antisthenes, a disciple of Socrates, is considered to be the founder of the movement, but Diogenes (q.v.) of Sinope was its paradigm. He strove to destroy social conventions (including family life) as a way of returning to a “natural” life. Toward this end he lived as a vagabond pauper, slept in public buildings, and begged his food. He also advocated shamelessness (performing actions that were harmful to no one but unconventional in certain circumstances), outspokenness (to further his cause), and training in austerity.
* * *