1. Having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious: a specious argument.
2. Deceptively appealing: "It is easy enough to give the old idea [of programmatic music] a specious air of modernity" (Aaron Copland).
[Middle English, attractive, from Latin speciōsus, from speciēs, appearance; see spek- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
spe′ci·osi·ty (-shē-ŏsĭ-tē), specious·ness (-shəs-nĭs) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.