Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious.
  • adjective Deceptively appealing.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • adjective based on pretense; deceptively pleasing
  • adjective plausible but false

Etymologies

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").

Examples

  • She is what I call a specious pig, and why she wanted to send me a Christmas card I simply can't imagine.

    About Peggy Saville

  • Fanatics, on both sides of this debate, place themselves in specious, non-tenable positions because they†™ re not thinking completely through their positions.

    Think Progress » POLL: Only 3 Percent Say Homosexuality is America’s ‘Most Serious Moral Crisis’

  • The ambassador condescended to justify, or excuse, the conduct of his master; and to protest, in specious language, that the murder of Gratian had been perpetrated, without his knowledge or consent, by the precipitate zeal of the soldiers.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • As a gun owner and a woman who has permit to carry, this whole argument that Obama will take away your guns in specious.

    Think Progress » VIDEO: On Anniversary Of Oklahoma City Bombing, Armed Right-Wing Activists Accuse Obama Of Tyranny

  • Night Shyamalan film about the crop circles to be quite specious, that is , Mel Gibson making some kind of deal with God to cure his son's asthma...but I have trouble with Shyamalan 's dialogue in any case.

    catholic imagination/danny boyle

  • "Bart" DePalma loves moving the goalposts or "reframing the issue", or "begging the question", or whatever you want to call his specious form of argumentation:

    Balkinization

  • "Bart" DePalma loves moving the goalposts or "reframing the issue", or "begging the question", or whatever you want to call his specious form of argumentation:

    Balkinization

  • "Bart" DePalma loves moving the goalposts or "reframing the issue", or "begging the question", or whatever you want to call his specious form of argumentation:

    Balkinization

  • "Bart" DePalma loves moving the goalposts or "reframing the issue", or "begging the question", or whatever you want to call his specious form of argumentation:

    Balkinization

  • "Bart" DePalma loves moving the goalposts or "reframing the issue", or "begging the question", or whatever you want to call his specious form of argumentation:

    Balkinization

Comments

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  • seeming reasonable but actually wrong,

    misleading in appearance

    October 16, 2008

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

    October 16, 2008

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

    October 16, 2008

  • http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specious

    specious

    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

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

    May 17, 2009

  • Cf. spurious.

    December 24, 2009

  • "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

  • 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

  • " 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