from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious: a specious argument.
  • adj. Deceptively attractive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Seemingly well-reasoned or factual, but actually fallacious or insincere; strongly held but false.
  • adj. Having an attractive appearance intended to generate a favorable response; deceptively attractive.
  • adj. Beautiful, pleasing to look at.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Presenting a pleasing appearance; pleasing in form or look; showy.
  • adj. Apparently right; superficially fair, just, or correct, but not so in reality; appearing well at first view; plausible

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pleasing to the eye; externally fair or showy; appearing beautiful or charming; sightly; beautiful.
  • Superficially fair, just, or correct; appearing well; apparently right; plausible; beguiling: as, specious reasoning; a specious argument; a specious person or book.
  • Appearing actual, or in reality; actually existing; not imaginary.
  • Pertaining to species or a species.
  • Synonyms Colorable, Plausible, etc. See ostensible.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. based on pretense; deceptively pleasing
  • adj. plausible but false


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, attractive, from Latin speciōsus, from speciēs, appearance; see spek- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin speciōsus ("good-looking").



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  • " His ignorance of history, his specious use of false equivalency and his absence of even a smidgen of moral sensitivity is not only embarrassing, but also quite scary."

    Source: A Moment of Bad Faith

    January 22, 2018

  • With all of the tensions of cold and hot wars working towards a rather specious "unity of purpose," political non-conformity seems to have all but disappeared.

    Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

    January 2, 2012

  • "As he took yet another deep breath of that speciously sweet cinnamon smell, it seemed to him that he had never wanted anything so badly in his whole life." From The Wastelands by Stephen King.

    January 9, 2011

  • Cf. spurious.

    December 24, 2009

  • SLH, if you click the links above you can get the definitions and you won't need to copy them.

    May 17, 2009



    Main Entry: spe·cious

    Pronunciation: \ˈspē-shəs\

    Function: adjective

    Etymology: Middle English, visually pleasing, from Latin speciosus beautiful, plausible, from species

    Date: 1513

    1obsolete : showy

    2: having deceptive attraction or allure

    3: having a false look of truth or genuineness : sophistic

    — spe·cious·ly adverb

    — spe·cious·ness noun

    May 15, 2009

  • specieous: something that seems to be cheap, but it's not.

    October 16, 2008

  • Suspecious: skeptical that something actually is false...

    October 16, 2008

  • seeming reasonable but actually wrong,

    misleading in appearance

    October 16, 2008