cyno-, cyn-, kyno-, kyn-

(Greek: dog; like a dog)

apocynum (s) (noun), apocynums (pl)
A genus of chiefly American perennial herbs of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae) with opposite leaves and small white or pink flowers comprising the dogbanes of which several are the source of substances with physiological activity resembling digitalis.

Dogbanes are perennial herbaceous plants, with poisonous milky juice, bearing slender pods in pairs; said to be poisonous to dogs.

cur (s), curs (pl) (nouns)
1. A mixed-breed dog, especially one that is ill-natured or in poor condition.
2. A contemptible person; an offensive term for someone regarded as mean, cowardly, or otherwise unpleasant.
3. Etymology: Middle English curre, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; however, it is not directly related to this Latin cyno-, "dog" family. It has been included because of its significance to the "dog" topic presented in this unit.
currish (adjective)
1. Having a hostile or disagreeable disposition.
2. Snarling and bad-tempered.
3. Etymology: from about 1175–1225; Middle English curre; apparently shortened from curdogge, "a worthless dog".
currishly (adverb)
1. Curlike; snarling; quarrelsome.
2. Resembling a cur; like a mongrel (dog that is a mixture of different breeds).
3. Etymology: this term is NOT related to the Latin cyno- family; however, it was placed here because of its relevance to this unit.
currishness (s) (noun)
Being snarling, rude, and bad-tempered: "The customer's currishness made it very difficult for the clerk not to respond in a negative way."

"The currishness of the couple resulted in their having an irritable and unpleasant disposition while they were discussing how much they would be spending for the trip."

cynanthropy, kynanthropy (s) (noun); cynanthropies, kynanthropies (pl)
1. The delusion or madness that a person has about being a dog which is imagined by him or her who barks and growls.
2. Insanity in which the patient behaves like a dog: Jim's father started to have delusions during which he barked and growled, imagining himself to be a dog.
Bear-baiting using dogs.
The art of hunting with dogs.
cyniatria, cyniatrics, cyniatric
1. A branch of veterinary medicine that specializes in the treatment of dogs.
2. The study of canine diseases.
1. A person who believes all people are motivated by selfishness.
2. A person whose outlook is scornfully and often habitually negative.

A Cynic was an ancient Greek philosopher or a member of a group of ancient Greek philosophers who believed that virtue is the only good and that the only means of achieving it was through self-control. The sect was founded by Antisthenes in the 4th century B.C. From Greek kunikos and then through Latin cynicus, "dog".

These sect members had a doglike insolence, a doglike disregard for social customs, a doglike use of tubs or kennels for sleeping, and a currish insistence upon one's own opinion. It may have been a coincidence that the Greek word for "doglike" is cynikos.

The word cynic had not been in English very long before it was applied to any faultfinding critic, especially to someone who doubts the sincerity of all human motives except self-interest.

—Partly based on information from
Thereby Hangs a Tale by Charles Earle Funk; Harper and Row, Publishers; New York; 1950, page 88.
Cynic (s), Cynics (pl) (nouns)
A member of a sect of ancient Greek philosophers who believed virtue to be the only good and self-control to be the only means of achieving virtue.

The Greek word kunikos, from which "cynic" comes, was originally an adjective meaning "doglike", from kuōn, "dog".

The word was probably applied to the Cynic philosophers because of the nickname kuōn given to Diogenes of Sinope, the prototypical Cynic.

The first use of the word recorded in English, in a work published from 1547 to 1564, is in the plural for members of this philosophical sect. In 1596, we find the first instance of cynic meaning "faultfinder", a sense that was to develop into our modern-English usage.

The meaning "faultfinder" came naturally from the behavior of countless Cynics who in their pursuit of virtue pointed out the various flaws in others. Such faultfinding could led to the belief associated with cynics of today that selfishness determines human behavior.

cynic spasm, risus sardonicus
Spasm of the facial muscles causing a grin or snarl like a dog.
cynical (adjective), more cynical, most cynical
Pertaining to those who believe that other people care only about themselves and so they are not sincere or honest: Many people are cynical citizens and they are skeptical about their political leaders.

With his cynical attitude, Adam doesn't trust anyone.

Sarcastic remarks.
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An inclination to question the sincerety of people's actions or values.
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1. An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others: the public cynicism aroused by governmental scandals.
2. A scornfully or jadedly negative comment or act.
3. Cynicism: The beliefs of the ancient Cynics.

Related "dog" word family: cani-.