Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for speciously
Historical Examples
  • These notions, imperfectly understood and speciously interpreted, are by many regarded as furnishing a sanction for war.

    The Forerunners Romain Rolland
  • How was it possible she should behave so speciously as she did all the time the lady staid with us!

    Clarissa, Volume 4 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • And in the mean time we may observe, that such a way of Arguing may, it seems, be speciously accommodated to differing Hypotheses.

    The Sceptical Chymist Robert Boyle
  • It is so insidious and speciously good, that it has found its way, like an angel of light, to the best hearts and holiest places.

    Thoughts on Missions Sheldon Dibble
  • This wrong, we are speciously told by those who seek to defend it, is not our original sin.

  • In fact, upon the neutral fact of evolution a theory of pessimism may be built up as speciously as a theory of optimism.

  • It was uniformly not so hopeful as formerly, while speciously apologetic.

    The Portion of Labor Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • You notified the police, speciously directing suspicion to—the ex-convict in the bank's employ.

  • Slavery, we are speciously told by those who defend it, is not our original sin.

  • In England all men spoke one tongue, speciously like American to the ear, but on cross-examination unintelligible.

    Actions and Reactions Rudyard Kipling
British Dictionary definitions for speciously


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 speciously

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 speciously



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

Difficulty index for specious

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for speciously

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for speciously