a small but influential school of ancient philosophers. Their name is variously derived from the building in~ Athens called Cynosarges, the earliest home of the school, and from the Greek word for a dog (nlwe), in contemptuous allusion to the uncouth and aggressive manners adopted by the members of the school………
1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica
A cynic may be pardoned for thinking that this is a dog's life. The Greek word kunikos, from which cynic comes, was originally an adjective meaning “doglike,” from ku n, “dog.” The word was probably applied to the Cynic philosophers because of the nickname ku n given to Diogenes of Sinope, the prototypical Cynic. He is reported to have been seen barking in public, urinating on the leg of a table, and masturbating on the street. 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 sense. The meaning “faultfinder” came naturally from the behavior of countless Cynics who in their pursuit of virtue pointed out the flaws in others. Such faultfinding could lead quite naturally to the belief associated with cynics of today that selfishness determines human behavior.
(s n´ ks) (KEY) [Gr.,=doglike, probably from their manners and their meeting place, the Cynosarges, an academy for Athenian youths]…….
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001