To be a cynic is to be suspicious of the motives of others or to question the worth of any enterprise. It is related to, but not the same, as pessimism. The term is named for a school of Greek philosophers, the Cynics. What is the opposite of cynicism? Perhaps idealism or positivity.

The more I see of the representatives of the people, the more I admire my dogs.

— Alphonse de Lamartine

Living in a city shouldn’t make you cynical and living in a village shouldn’t make you vulnerable.

— Amit Kalantri

In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?

— Barack Obama

I am most proud of my integrity and least proud of my cynicism.

— Chloe Sevigny

Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.

— Eleanor Roosevelt, The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

People have moved beyond apathy, beyond skepticism into deep cynicism.

— Elliot Richardson

It takes a clever man to turn cynic and a wise man to be clever enough not to.

— Fannie Hurst

The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don’t have it.

— George Bernard Shaw

The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.

— John F. Kennedy

The worst cynicism: a belief in luck.

— Joyce Carol Oates

Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth.

— Lillian Hellman

No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.

— Lily Tomlin

It’s hard to argue against cynics — they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side.

— Molly Ivins

Cynicism is intellectual treason.

— Norman Cousins

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing

— Oscar Wilde

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

— Oscar Wilde

I don’t think you lead by pessimism and cynicism. I think you lead by optimism and enthusiasm and energy.

— Patricia Ireland

Cynicism is not realistic and tough. It’s unrealistic and kind of cowardly because it means you don’t have to try.

— Peggy Noonan

People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our distrust is very expensive.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

A cynic can chill and dishearten with a single word.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think there ought to be a club in which preachers and journalists could come together and have the sentimentalism of the one matched with the cynicism of the other. That ought to bring them pretty close to the truth.

— Reinhold Niebuhr

A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.

— Sydney J. Harris

An idealist believes the short run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.

— Sydney J. Harris

Winter was nothing but a season of snow; spring, allergies; and summer…It was the worst. That was swimsuit season.

— Teresa Lo

Optimism with some experience behind it is much more energizing than plain old experience with a certain degree of cynicism.

— Twyla Tharp

Never be a cynic, even a gentle one. Never help out a sneer, even at the devil.

— Vachel Lindsay
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