specious was our Word of the Day on 10/26/2006. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of specious in a Sentence
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
One must always guard the interests of one's constituency in the public forum even when its claims are weak or perhaps specious, lest one's opponents steal the march in the never-ending battle for resources or public support. —Robert Jackall et al., Image Makers, 2000
By and large, they made these changes with specious explanations or no explanation at all. Today, when curricula list rhetoric as a subject, it usually means simply the study of how to write effectively. —Walter J. Ong, Orality and Literacy, (1982) 2002
He justified his actions with specious reasoning.
a specious argument that really does not stand up under close examination
Recent Examples of specious from the Web
This entire commission is based on the specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November.
And so, predictably, at the announcement of a special counsel charged to investigate collusion between Trump and an ecosystem of specious Kremlin minions, black America can hardly contain itself.
Any complaint about my behavior, no matter how specious, could be a mark against my record.
So the argument that the Challenger SRT Demon should not be allowed on our roads is specious, at best.
Specious narratives, conspiracy theories, and indeed fake news have been part of Russia’s geopolitical playbook for more than half a century.
K. Packard, Livermore The argument that Justice Antonin Scalia should be replaced by someone with a similar judicial philosophy is at best a specious one.
A real revolution was finally supplanting a specious one.
But exposure to difference without depth of experience can, rather than eradicating previous assumptions, inspire a person (a very young one, in my defense) to adopt some flagrantly specious metrics.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'specious'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Appearances can be deceptive. "Things are not always as they seem." Like these familiar proverbs, the word specious attests that English speakers can be a skeptical lot when it comes to trusting outward appearances. Specious traces to the Latin word speciosus, meaning "beautiful" or "plausible," and Middle English speakers used it to mean "visually pleasing." But by the 17th century, specious had begun to suggest an attractiveness that was superficial or deceptive, and, subsequently, the word's neutral "pleasing" sense faded into obsolescence.
Origin and Etymology of specious
Middle English, visually pleasing, from Latin speciosus beautiful, plausible, from species
First Known Use: 1513See Words from the same year
SPECIOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of specious for English Language Learners
: falsely appearing to be fair, just, or right : appearing to be true but actually false
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up specious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).