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[spyoo r-ee-uh s] /ˈspyʊər i əs/
not genuine, authentic, or true; not from the claimed, pretended, or proper source; counterfeit.
Biology. (of two or more parts, plants, etc.) having a similar appearance but a different structure.
of illegitimate birth; bastard.
Origin of spurious
1590-1600; < Latin spurius bastard, perhaps < Etruscan; see -ous
Related forms
spuriously, adverb
spuriousness, noun
nonspurious, adjective
nonspuriously, adverb
nonspuriousness, noun
unspurious, adjective
unspuriously, adverb
unspuriousness, noun
1. false, sham, bogus, mock, feigned, phony; meretricious, deceitful.
1. genuine. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for spurious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There is, however, a good deal of spurious family affection.

  • "The spurious China Joe and one other man escaped in a car," Ned reported.

    Arm of the Law Harry Harrison
  • The State is not to be forgotten for some spurious personal individuality.

    Blood and Iron John Hubert Greusel
  • There were the eyes that fell away before the spurious effrontery of her own glance.

    The Snare Rafael Sabatini
  • Some of the spurious Greek works of the Hippocratic collection have also case notes.

British Dictionary definitions for spurious


not genuine or real
(of a plant part or organ) having the appearance of another part but differing from it in origin, development, or function; false: a spurious fruit
(of radiation) produced at an undesired frequency by a transmitter, causing interference, etc
(rare) illegitimate
Derived Forms
spuriously, adverb
spuriousness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin spurius of illegitimate birth
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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Word Origin and History for spurious

1590s, "born out of wedlock," from Latin spurius "illegitimate, false" (cf. Italian spurio, Spanish espurio), from spurius (n.) "illegitimate child," probably from Etruscan spural "public." Sense of "having an irregular origin, not properly constituted" is from c.1600; that of "false, sham" is from 1610s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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spurious in Medicine

spurious spu·ri·ous (spyur'ē-əs)
Similar in appearance or symptoms but unrelated in morphology or pathology; false.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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