Specious would be a great analogy to the word I'm looking for. It is something that it is true on the surface but really is not, i.e. superficially familiar, but not if we look closely.

Example sentence:

Mushrooms resemble plants, they are _____ to plants, they look like plants and consumed as vegetables. However, if look deeper they are completely different living organisms.

The word would represent a thing to be "familiar", "relatable", "recognizable". (Not necessarily physically familiar). Yet, it would also convey the thing to be "alien", "unrelatable", "different".

  • Welcome to ELU. Could you tell us what sources you've looked at to try to find a word that fits your meaning? You also need to provide a sentence showing how the word would be used--an example sentence.
    – Xanne
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 6:55
  • 2
    You'll have to specify, give details. For example, if that thing is familiar in appearance but in reality it isn't then why is so? Is it so because it is meant to deceive, act like a booby trap, cheap substitute, bait and switch, etc. How do you plan to use it?
    – vickyace
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 7:03
  • 1
    They are similar, not familiar. They are superficially similar. I doubt you will find a single word for that.
    – dangph
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 6:13

3 Answers 3


I would go with something like deceptively similar. Another option might be simulacrum.


A substitute or substitute good.

Example sentence:

Mushrooms are substitutes for plants: they look like plants, and they are consumed like vegetables. However, they are completely different living organisms if you look deeper.



Biology (of organs) performing a similar function but having a different evolutionary origin, such as the wings of insects and birds. Often contrasted with homologous


Biology (of organs) similar in position, structure, and evolutionary origin but not necessarily in function. ‘a seal's flipper is homologous with the human arm’

source. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com

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