Definition of specious
- specious reasoning
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
He justified his actions with specious reasoning.
a specious argument that really does not stand up under close examination
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.
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.
First Known Use: 1513See Words from the same year
: falsely appearing to be fair, just, or right : appearing to be true but actually false
What made you want to look up specious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Confusing Words—A Quiz