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From Latin speciōsus (good-looking).



specious (comparative more specious, superlative most specious)

  1. Seemingly well-reasoned, plausible or true, but actually fallacious.
    This idea that we must see through what we have started is specious, however good it may sound.
    • 1776, Thomas Paine, Common Sense,
      I have frequently amused myself both in public and private companies, with silently remarking, the specious errors of those who speak without reflecting.
  2. Employing fallacious but deceptively plausible arguments; deceitful.
    • 1829, William Phelan, Mortimer O'Sullivan, Ireland: A digest taken before Select Committees of the two Houses of Parliament, appointed to inquire into the State of Ireland, 1824—25, in The Christian Review and Clerical Magazine, Volume III, page 472,
      But a third cause of the delusion is, that the Church of Rome has become more specious and deceitful than before the Reformation.
  3. Having an attractive appearance intended to generate a favorable response; deceptively attractive.
    • 1760, William Warburton, The Lord Bishop of Gloucester's Sermon Preached Before the Right Honourable the House of Lords, January 30, 1760, page 19,
      And could any thing be more ſpecious, or more equal, than that fair diſtribution of power and profit, which men called the NEW MODEL?
  4. (obsolete) Beautiful, pleasing to look at.


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