More about specious
Specious, “apparently good but lacking real merit; superficially pleasing or plausible; pleasing to the eye but deceptive; pleasing to the eye, fair,” comes from Latin speciōsus, which has the same ambivalent meanings. Speciōsus is a derivative of the noun speciēs, which also has the same wide range of meaning, but even the literal meaning “sight, view,” as in the common Latin phrase prīmā speciē “at first sight,” implies a “but.” Speciēs is a derivative of the verb specere “to see, look at, observe,” from the Proto-Indo-European root spek-, spok-, with the same meaning. The root appears in Sanskrit spáśati “he sees” and Avestan spasyeiti “he watches out (for), looks out (for).” In the Germanic languages spek– appears as spähen “to scout, look out” in German, and in Old Norse as spā “prophecy” (i.e., something that one has looked out for). Greek not infrequently goes its own way: it metathesizes (switches the positions of) the p and k, resulting in the Greek root skep-, skop-, as in sképtesthai “to look around, survey, spy, contemplate” (source of English skeptic and skeptical); skop– appears in Greek skopós “spy, scout; target, goal, purpose” (English scope). The Greek combining form –skopion, –skopeion “instrument for viewing” appears in microscope and telescope. Specious entered English in the late 14th century.