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[spee-shuh s] /ˈspi ʃəs/
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 forms
speciously, adverb
speciousness, noun
nonspecious, adjective
nonspeciously, adverb
nonspeciousness, noun
unspecious, adjective
unspeciously, adverb
unspeciousness, noun
Can be confused
specie, species, specious.
1. See plausible. 2. false, misleading.
1, 2. genuine. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for specious
  • His arguments and specious comparisons are bogus and not worth seriously entertaining, in my humble opinion.
  • In these speeches he frequently bears the aspect of a specious demagogue.
  • True humility alone could discover the snare which lurked under the specious gloss of holy charity.
  • Comparing home prices to gold over time comes across to me as a bit specious.
  • Besides, the claim that cattle on rough grazing land actually displaces crops is specious.
  • It is a specious argument that something must be done, this is something therefore it should be done.
  • The argument that people will not produce if they get taxed more is specious.
  • The idea that shooting some wolves will automatically bolster prey population is specious.
  • Not only has she continued to refuse, on insultingly specious grounds, to appoint an independent counsel.
  • The notion that games are popular purely because of their violence always struck me as specious.
British Dictionary definitions for specious


apparently correct or true, but actually wrong or false
deceptively attractive in appearance
Derived Forms
speciously, adverb
speciousness, noun
Word Origin
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
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Contemporary definitions for specious

plausible but not true; based on pretense; sophistic

Word Origin

Latin specissus 'beautiful, plausible''s 21st Century Lexicon
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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
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