adjective \ˈspē-shəs\

: falsely appearing to be fair, just, or right : appearing to be true but actually false

Full Definition of SPECIOUS

obsolete :  showy
:  having deceptive attraction or allure
:  having a false look of truth or genuineness :  sophistic <specious reasoning>
spe·cious·ly adverb
spe·cious·ness noun

Examples of SPECIOUS

  1. He justified his actions with specious reasoning.
  2. <a specious argument that really does not stand up under close examination>
  3. Forty years ago I was not yet thirty, and my father still held to the hope that I would come to my senses, abandon the practice of journalism, and follow a career in one of the Wall Street money trades. As a young man during the Great Depression he had labored briefly as a city-room reporter for William Randolph Hearst's San Francisco Examiner, and he knew that the game was poorly paid and usually rigged, more often than not a matter of converting specious rumor into dubious fact. —Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, February 2004

Origin of SPECIOUS

Middle English, visually pleasing, from Latin speciosus beautiful, plausible, from species
First Known Use: 1513


Next Word in the Dictionary: specious present
Previous Word in the Dictionary: speciosity
All Words Near: specious

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up specious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).