Definition of specious
- specious reasoning
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He justified his actions with specious reasoning.
a specious argument that really does not stand up under close examination
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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
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