Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[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. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for specious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Really, your ladyship talks of servants as if they were not born of the Christian specious.

    Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2 Henry Fielding
  • Accounts for his plausible behaviour, and specious promises and proposals.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • Under a specious, smiling countenance you all conceal a heart of gall.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • But Psychology has also some other supports, specious rather than real.

    Theaetetus Plato
  • By that most glib and specious explanation Cynthia was convinced.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
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
Cite This Source
Contemporary definitions for specious

plausible but not true; based on pretense; sophistic

Word Origin

Latin specissus 'beautiful, plausible''s 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for specious

Word Value for specious

Scrabble Words With Friends