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 formsspe·cious·ly, adverbspe·cious·ness, nounnon·spe·cious, adjectivenon·spe·cious·ly, adverbnon·spe·cious·ness, nounun·spe·cious, adjectiveun·spe·cious·ly, adverbun·spe·cious·ness, noun
Can be confusedspecie species specious

Synonyms for specious

1. See plausible. 2. false, misleading.

Antonyms for specious

1, 2. genuine.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for specious

Contemporary Examples of specious

Historical Examples of specious

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

  • 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.


    William Godwin

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

  • 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 Formsspeciously, adverbspeciousness, noun

Word Origin for specious

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

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