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[spee-shuh s] /ˈspi ʃəs/
apparently good or right though lacking real merit; superficially pleasing or plausible:
specious arguments.
pleasing to the eye but deceptive.
Obsolete. pleasing to the eye; fair.
Origin of specious
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin speciōsus fair, good-looking, beautiful, equivalent to speci(ēs) (see species) + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
speciously, adverb
speciousness, noun
nonspecious, adjective
nonspeciously, adverb
nonspeciousness, noun
unspecious, adjective
unspeciously, adverb
unspeciousness, noun
Can be confused
specie, species, specious.
1. See plausible. 2. false, misleading.
1, 2. genuine. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for specious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • specious enough is that argument: but shortsighted more than enough.

    Sermons for the Times Charles Kingsley
  • A specious method of hiding defects in timber, by chopping it in pieces.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • The Viavi people are said to be obtaining such permission for use of schoolhouses under the specious plea of social hygiene.

  • Really, your ladyship talks of servants as if they were not born of the Christian specious.

    Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2 Henry Fielding
  • He could not bear to think that his friend should one day find him, too, a bit of specious insincerity.

    Ewing\'s Lady Harry Leon Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for specious


apparently correct or true, but actually wrong or false
deceptively attractive in appearance
Derived Forms
speciously, adverb
speciousness, noun
Word Origin
C14 (originally: fair): from Latin speciōsus plausible, from speciēs outward appearance, from specere to look at
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for specious

plausible but not true; based on pretense; sophistic

Word Origin

Latin specissus 'beautiful, plausible''s 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for specious

c.1400, "pleasing to the sight, fair," from Latin speciosus "good-looking, beautiful," from species "appearance" (see species). Meaning "seemingly desirable, reasonable or probable, but not really so" is first recorded 1610s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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