Le présent billet a été rédigé par Jonathan Goldberg, que je remercie.
These two words are often confused. Both begin with sp. and both end in …ious. In addition, their meanings are similar. Let us examine their definitions in order to distinguish between them.
Collins English Dictionary defines spurious as follows:
1. not genuine or real
2. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Botany) (of a plant part or organ) having the appearance of another part but differing from it in origin, development, or function; false a spurious fruit
3. (Electronics & Computer Science / Telecommunications) (of radiation) produced at an undesired frequency by a transmitter, causing interference, etc.
4. Rare illegitimate
[from Latin spurius of illegitimate birth]
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Fourth Edition) defines specious as follows:
1. Having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious: e.g. a specious argument.
2. Deceptively attractive.
The Collins Robert Unabridged French-English Dictionary contains the following definitions:
Spurious adj. (gen.) faux (fausse f); [document, writings] ; faux (fausse f) ; apocryphe ; [claim] fallacieux ; [interest, affection, desire] simulé, feint
Specious adj (frm) spécieux
The Multifunctional Dictionary of TV5 Monde defines spécieux as :
Qui a une apparence trompeuse de vérité.
In the light of the above, the distinction between spurious and specious is clear: both contain an element of falsity, but specious indicates the appearance of being true or valid.