• synonyms


  1. not genuine, authentic, or true; not from the claimed, pretended, or proper source; counterfeit.
  2. Biology. (of two or more parts, plants, etc.) having a similar appearance but a different structure.
  3. of illegitimate birth; bastard.
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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. 2018

Examples from the Web for spuriously

Historical Examples of spuriously

  • Capsule not lobed, mostly 5-valved, spuriously 10-celled, 10-seeded.

    The Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States

    Asa Gray

  • Their ideas of position and privilege were all spuriously European.

    The High Heart

    Basil King

  • She admitted that clandestine and spuriously accidental meetings were wrong.

    Double Harness

    Anthony Hope

  • Charles was determinedly "sincere" throughout the brief call, continuously and spuriously hearty.

    Angela's Business

    Henry Sydnor Harrison

British Dictionary definitions for spuriously


  1. not genuine or real
  2. (of a plant part or organ) having the appearance of another part but differing from it in origin, development, or function; falsea spurious fruit
  3. (of radiation) produced at an undesired frequency by a transmitter, causing interference, etc
  4. rare illegitimate
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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 spuriously



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spuriously in Medicine


  1. Similar in appearance or symptoms but unrelated in morphology or pathology; false.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.