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I'm trying to say people must be more wary in a society more and more false. That is more people and things are not what they say they are - or appear to be.

The sentence is:

... more important to be wary in an increasingly ___ society.

Does the word "ostensible" or "specious" fit in here (if so, which one better)? Currently I am using the word "superficial," but I'm not sure if it fits as well as the alternatives. I am open to other words as well.

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    Ostensible doesn't fit at all. – nnnnnn Aug 25 '19 at 7:52
  • You wouldn't say 'ostensible' because the society is real enough. Perhaps 'disingenous' would work. – S Conroy Aug 25 '19 at 14:44
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I'm trying to say people must be more wary in a society more and more false. That is more people and things are not what they say they are - or appear to be.

The sentence is:

... more important to be wary in an increasingly ___ society.


Personally I am a cynic so I would say

more important to be wary in an increasingly deceitful society

But for me any of the following would work; treacherous; perfidious; deceitful. Perhaps "perfidious" is the most accurate

Ostensible or specious seem a bit vague, but that's my opinion, superficial sounds the best of the three. However it's your sentence you know what you want to say.


deceit noun Cambridge English Dictionary (an act of) keeping the truth hidden, especially to get an advantage:

The story is about theft, fraud, and deceit on an incredible scale. When the newspapers published the full story, all his earlier deceits were revealed.

perfidious adjective, literary unable to be trusted, or showing no loyalty:

She described the new criminal bill as a perfidious attack on democracy.

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I agree with Brad that "superficial" looks like the best of the three, and "deceitful" may work better than any (depending what you wanted to convey).

"An ostensible society" or "a specious society" would have me wondering - I would read them as applying to the concept of society as a whole (that it wasn't really a society), while I initially read your question as a comment on an increasing number [proportion] of the members of society who behave falsely.

If I'm along the right lines "duplicitous" could work as a variation on "deceitful".

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