cynical as in "believing the worst of human nature and motives; having a sneering disbelief in e.g. selflessness of others."
愤世嫉俗may use to describe cynical, but it is not appropriate for many circumstances. Because
愤世嫉俗 sometimes are use to describe "anti-social" or "outlier".
Perhaps this is something better when you describe a person with cynical character:
There are several words with close meaning:
犬儒主义 is most close to the word as
Cynic has the meaning of
犬 in ancient Greek and Chinese. And one of the representative Greek philosophers is
Diogenēs o Sinopeus who proposed the philosophy which is very similar to "
老庄哲学" in ancient China.
犬儒主义" is not a negative emotional word -- not so discouraging -- it describes someone who lives and satisfies to his own life style which is different from the rest part of the "incorrigible" world.
In my comment to one of the other answer:
愤世嫉俗 is in Google Translate result for 'cynical'. The fact is -- 愤世嫉俗 is mostly an attitude generated by emotional frustration; while 'cynical' is an egoistic thinking manifest itself in a sarcastic attitude toward the world.
I think 尖酸刻薄 (sarcastic / cynical) is a good translation because it only describes the attitude itself, unlike 愤世嫉俗, the motive of being 尖酸刻薄 is unstated.
cynical is an attitude. It is mostly expressed through the way someone speaks-- same as 尖酸刻薄.
Speak thorny, treat people cold, do not give the slightest room for maneuver. Give people an impression of no human touch.
I think that "愤世嫉俗" is the right saying.
I think it is hard to find a phrase that exactly encapsulates the meaning of 'cynical'. That said, I think "以小人之心度君子之腹" is a good description.