1580s, "resembling Cynic philosophers," from cynic + -al (1). By late 17c. the meaning had shaded into the general one of "critical, disparaging the motives of others, captious, sneering, peevish." Related: Cynically.
1. This is a cynical manipulation of the situation for short-term political gain.
2. He described the Foreign Office's decision as sickening and cynical.
3. Politics is clubby, careerist, and cynical.
4. It's hard not to be cynical about reform.
5. Ridley viewed his work with a cynical detachment.