Use of the adjective “spurious” to indicate properties of that which flows from a noun

While chatting with a co-worker, a repeated assertion was made (in the pithy style of Inigo Montoya to Vizzini) that my usage of the term spurious was incorrect when conveying that the output of an implementation of a mathematical function was "fake or false" in the context of the function itself.

For example:

I believe [this tool] is spurious because its output is non-conformant with this function.

That spurious tool does not correctly conform with our analysis. We should fix it.

I am aware of the dictionary definition of the term, explicitly leaning on the subdefinition of "of a deceitful nature or quality" (that is, that the described object may give a false impression because of its incorrect results). However, I am unsure of the verifiable or validatable qualities of this usage of the term.

Is this form of the expression in current accepted use? Some cited examples from reputable sources would help.


According to the usage tip in this reference:

Spurious refers to things that are not what they are claimed to be; they are illegitimate.

The results are spurious; they are not what they claim to be. The tool itself, however, is making no such claims, so to refer to the tool as spurious is incorrect.

Source : Link , Question Author : MrGomez , Answer Author : Gnawme

Leave a Comment