Use specious to describe an argument that seems to be good, correct, or logical, but is not so. We live on the earth, therefore the earth must be the center of the universe has been proven to be a specious theory of the solar system.

Specious is pronounced "SPEE-shuhs." Something that is specious is attractive in a deceptive way, and if you follow the word's etymology, you'll see why. In Middle English, this adjective meant "attractive," from Latin speciōsus "showy, beautiful," from speciēs "appearance, kind, sort." Latin speciēs is also the source of English species.

Definitions of specious
  1. adjective
    plausible but false
    “a specious claim”
    synonyms: spurious
    not in accordance with the fact or reality or actuality
  2. adjective
    based on pretense; deceptively pleasing
    synonyms: gilded, meretricious
    lacking sincerity
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week