Definition of spurious
spurious was our Word of the Day on 05/31/2009. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of spurious in a Sentence
One reiterated theme of his book is that the electoral process can be the most dangerous of delusions, tending to confer a spurious legitimacy on those most willing to corrupt it. —Hilary Mantel, New York Review, 21 Sept. 2006
Of all the potentially spurious phrases regularly found lurking on book jackets, none should be approached with greater wariness than “This is his first novel.” —Tony Early, New York Times Book Review, 30 Apr. 2000
I have no special interest in defending modern finance theory, but I think it is important to get this straight, lest Soros's own ideas acquire spurious validity as a practical corrective to academic moonshine. —Robert M. Solow, New Republic, 12 Apr. 1999
a spurious Picasso painting that wouldn't have fooled an art expert for a second
claimed that the governor's election-year enthusiasm for conservation was spurious, since he had cut funding for state parks
Recent Examples of spurious from the Web
On Monday, Wagner received a demand letter from Zillow threatening a lawsuit over spurious copyright claims and possible violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which is a federal anti-hacking law.
Cohn’s power derived largely from his ability to scare potential adversaries with hollow threats and spurious lawsuits.
The already tense dynamic with North Korea intensified after Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old Ohio native held captive in North Korea for 17 months on spurious charges of subversion, was returned home last week in a near-comatose state.
These days, spurious correlations often emerge from data mining, the increasingly common practice of trawling large amounts of information for possible relationships.
Many, including Helena’s, were created by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which was advancing the spurious idea that the South left the Union and fought the Civil War over states’ rights, not slavery.
More broadly though: What if McFarland is passing along a spurious rumor that hasn’t been widely debunked online?
Sheldon said his goal is to focus workers on the most serious allegations and free them from spurious cases that can be easily dismissed.
For more on fake news on Facebook, watch Fortune's video: Earlier in April, Facebook took out similar ads in German newspapers, which also advised readers on how to discern spurious stories.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spurious'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The classical Latin adjective spurius started out as a word meaning "illegitimate." In the days of ancient Rome, it was sometimes even used as a first name for illegitimate offspring (apparently with no dire effects). There was a certain Spurius Lucretius, for example, who was made temporary magistrate of Rome. In less tolerant times, 18th-century English writer Horace Walpole noted that Henry VII "came of the spurious stock of John of Gaunt." Today, we still use spurious to mean "illegitimate," but the more common meaning is "false" (a sense introduced to spurious in Late Latin). Originally our "false" sense emphasized improper origin, and it still often does ("a spurious signature"), but it can also simply mean "fake" or "not real."
Origin and Etymology of spurious
Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin spurius false, from Latin, of illegitimate birth, from spurius, noun, bastard
First Known Use: 1598See Words from the same year
SPURIOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of spurious for English Language Learners
: not genuine, sincere, or authentic
: based on false ideas or bad reasoning
Medical Definition of spurious
: simulating a symptom or condition without being pathologically or morphologically genuine spurious labor pains spurious polycythemia
Seen and Heard
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