Definition of specious in US English:



  • 1Superficially plausible, but actually wrong.

    ‘a specious argument’
    • ‘Hucksters flaunted their specious cure-ails on posters, broadsides, and other printed formats.’
    • ‘We should take care to use arguments that aren't specious.’
    • ‘Criticism should be founded on a writer's life and work, not just on previous criticism or specious theories.’
    • ‘The usual specious arguments we see in one country are now being regurgitated in others.’
    • ‘The argument is obviously somewhat specious.’
    • ‘If money is abused, there's going to be a crisis; at some point there will be a ‘run’ from specious financial claims.’
    • ‘These arguments are specious, but they are based on rosy assumptions or bad analogies.’
    • ‘It is a specious and cynical reference at best.’
    • ‘This is a specious argument that he has been making.’
    • ‘What he required of us was that we avoided specious or muddled argument.’
    • ‘This argument was presumably specious since the integrated system has since been jettisoned in favor of subcontracting.’
    • ‘Because the charges against the airlines were specious but successful, every pilot must worry that his good-faith effort to protect his passengers will trigger federal retaliation.’
    • ‘Kindly keep your preposterous, specious opinions out of conversations that don't concern you!’
    • ‘I've always found this kind of argument a little specious, since most people don't know and could care less about when a composer wrote a work.’
    • ‘Occasionally, you hear the specious argument that musicians don't need the money they might lose to the Internet services.’
    • ‘The court determined this argument was specious.’
    • ‘Many proponents of personal accounts have used specious arguments about the potential for superior rates of return.’
    • ‘We can't rally around specious information that diminishes our ability to think critically about real and present health threats.’
    • ‘Although the argument was specious, since everyone knew the significance of the vote, he certainly had been evasive when questioned directly on the issue.’
    • ‘The case for large bonuses on top of large salaries is essentially specious, at least for anyone of my generation.’
    1. 1.1 Misleading in appearance, especially misleadingly attractive.
      ‘the music trade gives Golden Oldies a specious appearance of novelty’
      plausible but wrong, seemingly correct, misleading, deceptive, false, fallacious, unsound, casuistic, sophistic
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘beautiful’): from Latin speciosus ‘fair’, from species (see species).