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 speciously

Historical Examples of speciously

  • "Jerry wanted to know how you were," said Stella speciously.

  • This was a chance, he speciously urged, which Miss Devereux should not be suffered to miss.

    The Crooked Stick

    Rolf Boldrewood

  • 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

  • After an autumn speciously benign came our season of cold and snow.

    The Boss of Little Arcady

    Harry Leon Wilson

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

    The Portion of Labor

    Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

British Dictionary definitions for speciously



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 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