If you think public officials are nothing but a bunch of greedy buffoons, you have a cynical attitude about politics.

A cynical person has a bleak outlook about others, always imagining that people are ruled by their worst instincts. H.L. Mencken was famous for saying cynical things like, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." The original Cynics were ancient Greek philosophers who never had a good word to say about anyone. The Greek word kynikos actually means "canine," maybe because all of that sneering seemed a little dog-like.

Definitions of cynical
  1. adjective
    believing the worst of human nature and motives; having a sneering disbelief in e.g. selflessness of others
    synonyms: misanthropic, misanthropical
    having or showing distrust
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week