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 formsspu·ri·ous·ly, adverbspu·ri·ous·ness, nounnon·spu·ri·ous, adjectivenon·spu·ri·ous·ly, adverbnon·spu·ri·ous·ness, nounun·spu·ri·ous, adjectiveun·spu·ri·ous·ly, adverbun·spu·ri·ous·ness, noun

Synonyms for spurious

Antonyms for spurious

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

Examples from the Web for spurious

Contemporary Examples of spurious

Historical Examples of spurious

  • 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; falsea spurious fruit
(of radiation) produced at an undesired frequency by a transmitter, causing interference, etc
rare illegitimate
Derived Formsspuriously, adverbspuriousness, noun

Word Origin for spurious

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

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

spurious in Medicine




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.