Fear is contagious, and popular action dominated by fear may be entirely illogical. Public opinion is profoundly affected by conscious appeals to fear.
~ William Albig, Public Opinion (1939). Chapter IV: Psychological Processes And Opinion

Despair and confidence both banish fear.
~ Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, Doomsday (1614). The Tenth Hour

Up the airy mountain
Down the rushy glen.
We daren't go a-hunting,
For fear of little men.
~ William Allingham, from Day and Night Songs (1854). The Fairies

Remember, the only thing to fear is Fear, and -- well, don't even fear Fear, for he's a cowardly chap at the best, who will run if you show a brave front.
~ William Walker Atkinson, Thought Vibration; Or, The Law of Attraction in the Thought World (1906). Chapter VI. How To Become Immune To Injurious Thought Attraction

The Bat that flits at close of Eve
Has left the Brain that won't believe.
The Owl that calls upon the Night
Speaks the Unbeliever's fright.
~ William Blake, from The Pickering Manuscript (c. 1803). Auguries of Innocence

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
~ William Blake, from Songs of Experience (1794). The Tyger

Never was I afraid of man;
Catch me, cowardly knaves, if you can!
~ William Cullen Bryant, in Putnam's Magazine (1855). Robert of Lincoln

The most drastic and usually the more effective remedy for fear is direct action.
~ William H. Burnham, The Normal Mind: An Introduction to Mental Hygiene and the Hygiene of School Instruction (1924).

A paranoid is a man who knows a little of what's going on.
~ William S. Burroughs

Fear of death is form of stasis horrors. The dead weight of time.
~ William S. Burroughs, in Everything Lost: The Latin American Notebook of William S. Burroughs (2008).

Fear makes a man a slave to others. This is the tyrant's chain. Anxiety is a form of cowardice, embittering life.
~ William Ellery Channing, in Dr. Channing's Note-book (1887). Fear

To suppose such a thing possible as a society, in which men, who are able and willing to work, cannot support their families, and ought, with a great part of the women, to be compelled to lead a life of celibacy, for fear of having children to be starved; to suppose such a thing possible is monstrous.
~ William Cobbett, in The Opinions of William Cobbett (1944). Chapter 9, in the Political Register (London, 8 May 1819) To Parson Malthus

Thou, to whom the World unknown
With all its shadowy Shapes is shown;
Who see'st appall'd th'unreal Scene,
While Fancy lifts the Veil between:
Ah Fear! Ah frantic Fear!
I see, I see thee near.
~ William Collins, from Odes on Several Descriptive and Allegoric Subjects (1746). Ode to Fear

I'd always been scared of people with tertiary education and high intellects in case they found me wanting. I thought they viewed me as just a welder who knew a few jokes.
~ Billy Connolly, in Pamela Stephenson's Billy (1 October 2001).

In nature it is fear that makes us arm;
And fear by guilt is bred;
The guiltless nothing dread,
Defence not seeking, nor designing harm.
~ Sir William Davenant, in The Works of Sir William Davenant (1673). The Play-House to be Let, Act IV (1663 play)

Revenge is but a braver name for fear.
~ Sir William Davenant, Gondibert (1651). Book 3, Canto 6

Fear takes a horrible toll. Fear is all around, robbing people of their pride, hurting them, robbing them of a chance to contribute to the company. It is unbelievable what happens when you unloose fear.
~ W. Edwards Deming, quoted in The Deming Management Method (1986).

Whenever there is fear, you will get wrong figures.
~ W. Edwards Deming

Fear is the biggest motivator.
~ Bill Dixon

Fear of ideas makes us impotent and ineffective.
~ William Orville Douglas, in The Progressive, 19:7-10 (February 1955). The Manifest Destiny of America

Now that I'm married and thinking of having a family, my greatest fear is being unable to defend my loved ones.
~ David William Duchovny, Playboy Magazine (Interview; December 1998).

Timor mortis conturbat me.
~ William Dunbar, Lament for the Makars (1507).

The "News," the conferences that leer,
the creeping fog, the civil traps.
These are what force you into fear.
~ William Empson, from Collected Poems (1948). Autumn on Nan-Yueh (1937).

[M]onstrous fears feed on monstrous realities.
~ William W. Freehling, in The New York Review of Books (23 September 1971). Paranoia and American History

I don't have to write about the future. For most people, the present is enough like the future to be pretty scary.
~ William Gibson

Fear can't hurt you any more than a dream.
~ William Golding, Lord of the Flies (1954).

Never avoid doing anything because you fear it won't work.
~ Wilson Greatbatch, quoted in The Buffalo News (27 September 2011). Inventor Wilson Greatbatch dies

We fear men so much, because we fear God so little.
~ William Gurnall

And no one needs to fear being ridiculous.
~ William Gurstelle, Adventures from the Technology Underground (2006). Preface

Don't be afraid to ask dumb questions. They're more easily handled than dumb mistakes.
~ William Wister Haines, High Tension (1938).

[F]ears that military commissions will be used to try green-card holders living in the United States for ordinary civilian crimes are totally unfounded.
~ William James Haynes (on the fairness of military commission trials), (3 December 2001).

Lest he should wander irretrievably from the right path, he stands still.
~ William Hazlitt, from Lectures on the English Poets (1818). Lecture VIII: On The Living Poets

When the imagination is continually led to the brink of vice by a system of terror and denunciations, people fling themselves over the precipice from the mere dread of falling.
~ William Hazlitt, Characteristics: in the Manner of Rochefoucault's Maxims (1837 edition).

What man fears, that he worships.
~ William Ernest (W.E.) Hocking, The Meaning of God in Human Experience: A Philosophic Study of Religion (1912). Part IV. Chapter XVI. The Original Sources of the Knowledge of God

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.
~ William James, from The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy (1897). Is Life Worth Living? (originally published in 1895)

Fear of life in one form or other is the great thing to exorcise; but it isn't reason that will ever do it.
~ William James, in The Letters of William James, Vol. 2 (1920). Chapter XI. 1893-1899. Letter to Benjamin Paul Blood (28 June 1896)

The best way never to fall is ever to fear.
~ William Jenkyn, from An Exposition Upon the Epistle of Jude (delivered at Christ Church, Newgate Street, London England; 1653).

Don't be afraid to try again
Everyone goes south
Every now and then.
~ Billy Joel, in The Stranger (1977 album). The Stranger

I am no longer afraid of becoming lost, because the journey back always reveals something new, and that is ultimately good for the artist.
~ Billy Joel

I am very afraid of death, because I'm afraid to be born again after that.
~ Wim Kan

Fear often lies at the root of prejudice, tension and conflict. This is particularly the case when a perception exists that the intimate interests of a particular community are under threat from those in power. The remedy for this is accordingly to make all cultural communities feel secure in the manner in which their cultural rights are recognised in word and deed.
~ Frederik Willem (F.W.) de Klerk, The promotion of harmony in a pluralistic world (Speech, 21 March 2001).

When I walk on the street counting my steps, magic keeps silent and reality stalks me.
~ William Markiewicz, Extracts of Existence (1990).

It's a toss-up when you decide to leave the beaten track. Many are called but few are chosen.
~ W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge (1944).

Fear is something to be moved through, not something to be turned from.
~ Peter McWilliams, You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought (1995). Part Two -- The Cure

To overcome a fear, here's all you have to do: realize the fear is there, and do the action you fear anyway.
~ Peter McWilliams, You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought (1995). Part Two -- The Cure

[T]he person not taking risks feels the same amount of fear as the person who regularly takes risks.
~ Peter McWilliams, DO IT! Let's Get Off Our Buts (1994). Part Five: Doing It

With the unknown, one is confronted with danger, discomfort, and care; the first instinct is to abolish these painful states. First principle: any explanation is better than none. ... The causal instinct is thus conditional upon, and excited by, the feeling of fear. The "why?" shall, if at all possible, not give the cause for its own sake so much as for a particular kind of cause -- a cause that is comforting, liberating, and relieving.
~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, The Twilight of the Idols (1888). The Four Great Errors

[W]e fear because someplace therein lurks a terror, the beast, which we cannot see.
~ William Van O'Connor, Sense and Sensibility in Modern Poetry (1948).

Terrorism is not an enemy. It cannot be defeated. It's a tactic. It's about as sensible to say we declare war on night attacks and expect we're going to win that war. We're not going to win the war on terrorism. And it does whip up fear. Acts of terror have never brought down liberal democracies. Acts of parliament have closed a few.
~ (Lt. Gen.) William E. Odom, in C-SPAN TV Washington Journal (24 November 2002).

Most people, both young and old, are more afraid of being laughed at than of anything else.
~ William Lyon ("Billy") Phelps, Scribner's Magazine, Volume LXXII (July-December 1922). As I Like It (Department)

The fear of life is the favorite disease of the twentieth century.
~ William Lyon ("Billy") Phelps, from Essays on Things (1930).

Why is it so many people are afraid to admit they are happy?
~ William Lyon ("Billy") Phelps, from Essays on Things (1930).

If you live right, death is a joke to you, so far as fear is concerned.
~ Will Rogers, in Will Rogers: His wife's Story (1941).

[B]e not afraid of shadows.
~ William Shakespeare, King Richard III. Act V, scene iii

Be wary then; best safety lies in fear.
~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet. Act I, scene iii

Blind fear, that seeing reason leads, finds safer footing than blind reason stumbling without fear: to fear the worst oft cures the worse.
~ William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida. Act III, scene ii

[F]earless minds climb soonest unto crowns.
~ William Shakespeare, King Henry VI, Part III. Act IV, scene vii

Hence is it that we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear.
~ William Shakespeare, All's Well that Ends Well. Act II, scene iii

In time we hate that which we often fear.
~ William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra. Act I, scene iii

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
~ William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar. Act II, scene ii

Rumour doth double, like the voice and echo,
The numbers of the fear'd.
~ William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part II. Act III, scene i

So slippery that
The fear's as bad as falling.
~ William Shakespeare, Cymbeline

The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.
~ William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure. Act III, scene i

Things done well,
And with a care, exempt themselves from fear;
Things done without example, in their issue
Are to be fear'd.
~ William Shakespeare, King Henry VIII. Act I, scene ii

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet. Act III, scene i

True nobility is exempt from fear.
~ William Shakespeare, King Henry VI, Part II. Act IV, scene i

He who would acquire fame, must not show himself afraid of censure. The dread of censure is the death of genius.
~ William Gilmore Simms, Egeria: Or, Voices of Thought and Counsel for the Woods and Wayside (1853).

From Piety, whose soul sincere
Fears God, and knows no other fear.
~ William Smyth, in The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. LXXXI (1811). Ode for the Installation of the Duke of Gloucester as Chancellor of Cambridge (29 June 1811)

People like us are afraid to leave ball. What else is there to do? When baseball has been your whole life, you can't think about a future without it, so you hang on as long as you can.
~ Wilver Dornel "Willie" Stargell

Do what you are afraid to do ... go where you are afraid to go. When you run away because you are afraid to do something big, you pass opportunity by.
~ William (W.) Clement Stone, in Success Unlimited magazine (March 1975). The Control of Fear

When thinking won't cure fear, action will.
~ William (W.) Clement Stone

I get creeped out and I can't breathe and I can't eat around it. But it's only certain kinds of antique furniture. It mostly ... has to do with France and England.
~ Billy Bob Thornton

Let us live like those who expect to die, and then we shall find that we feared death only because we were unacquainted with it.
~ William Wake (Archbishop of Canterbury)

There is nothing in the world more generally dreaded, and yet less to be feared, than death : indeed, for those unhappy men whose hopes terminate in this life, no wonder if the prospect of another seems terrible and amazing.
~ William Wake (Archbishop of Canterbury)

I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.
~ William Allen White

I was nervous, so I read the New Testament. I read the verse about have no fear, and I felt relaxed. Then I jumped farther than I ever jumped before in my life.
~ Willye B. White, in Life magazine (Summer 1984).

Fear is the twin of Faith's sworn foe, Distrust.
If one breaks in your heart the other must.
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox, from New Thought Pastels (1906). Fear

Terrorism, among all forms of violent crime, is a peculiar evil, since it inspires fear and creates disruption far beyond the direct casualties it inflicts. Traditionally, that has been the essence of terrorism and the goal of terrorists -- to create fear.
~ Philip Wilcox, Testimony given to House Judiciary Committee (25 January 2000). Terrorist Threats to The United States

I'm going to turn on the light,
and we'll be two people in a room
looking at each other and wondering
why on earth we were afraid of the dark.
~ Gale Wilhelm

Don't be afraid to take risks. Make the most of your journey. Make it fun and exciting.
~ Bernie Williams, Commencement Address at Iona College, New Rochelle NY (21 May 2007).

Right now I can't sleep because I feel that if it's actually him and they hadn't caught him, I would have been in the number, I would have been one of the ones he killed.
~ Carol Williams (on sniper suspect, and former husband, John Allen Muhammad), CNN TV "Larry King Live" (29 October 2002).

The woods were wild at nightfall. She heard dim crashing and splashes and the bark of a dog, and through the gaps in the trees was a mottled sky of fading pink and grey discs, microbes moving toward the west. She had almost gotten away but not in time and now leaving wouldn't save her. She lay down on the deck with the woods all around her.
~ Joy Williams, from Taking Care (1982). Woods

I've got a fear for yellow snow. It's usually outside the gents toilet! I'm scared of falling off buildings too, especially when you reach the bottom.
~ Robbie Williams

We tell lies when we are afraid, ... afraid of what we don't know, of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.
~ Tad Williams, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Book 3 (April 1994). To Green Angel Tower, Part 1

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles (1992).

I'm blessed with everything.
A world to which a man can cling.
So happy at times that I break out in tears.
But in the back of my mind I still have my fears.
~ Brian Wilson

Emotions are the color of life; we would be drab creatures indeed without them. But we must control those emotions or they will control us. This is particularly true of the emotion of fear, which if allowed free rein would reduce all of us to trembling shadows of men, for whom only death could bring release.
~ John M. Wilson

A remnant of uneasy light.
~ William Wordsworth, from Memorials of a Tour in Scotland (1803). The Matron of Jedborough and Her Husband

Fear hath a hundred eyes that all agree
To plague her beating heart.
~ William Wordsworth, from Ecclesiastical Sonnets. In Series (1821-22). Part II. XLII: Gunpowder Plot

I perceive
That fear is like a cloak which old men huddle
About their love, as if to keep it warm.
~ William Wordsworth, The Borderers (1795-96).

What are fears but voices airy?
Whispering harm where harm is not.
And deluding the unwary
Till the fatal bolt is shot!
~ William Wordsworth

A few yes men may be born, but mostly they are made. Fear is a great breeder of them.
~ William Wrigley, Jr., in American Magazine (March 1920)

They (HUAC) are making decent people afraid to expose their opinions. They are creating fear in Hollywood. Fear will result in self-censorship. Self-censorship will paralyze the screen --- You will be given a diet of pictures which conform to arbitrary standards of Americanism.
~ William Wyler (on the House Committee on Un-American Activities [HUAC], during a Committee for the First Amendment [CFA] radio broadcast in 1947).

Top of Page

1999-2015 all things William. All Rights Reserved.
A Collection of Quotes Based on the Name William