Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Opposite of FEAR

When writing and revising, it is important to incorporate tension and conflict in each scene. One way to do this is to first identify the main emotion, or beginning emotion, of a scene. Second, thread the opposite emotion into the scene, or have the scene end with the opposite emotion.

So ... with the current scene I'm revising, FEAR is the main (and beginning) emotion. My instincts told me that the opposite of fear is COMFORT. But ... to be thorough, I googled "the opposite of fear."

Who knew the topic was such a controversy?

Several websites argue that COURAGE is not the opposite of fear, because fear is a state of being while courage is an action. Interesting. But couldn't you also argue that action is required to remove yourself from that state of being? Yes, but then courage is merely a pathway to the opposite of fear. Which bring us back to the original question.

What is the opposite of fear?

Several websites argue that FAITH is the opposite. Several others claim that LOVE is the opposite.

Which made me wonder how I could have been so off track with my thought of COMFORT being the opposite?

Let's look at the definitions (according to:

FEAR: the emotion experienced in the presence or threat of danger
COMFORT: a feeling of ease from grief or trouble

And yet, neither are listed as an antonym for the other.

What is listed as an antonym for FEAR?

... wait for it ...




Seriously? How is that helpful?

Actually, there are more. Here's the list from Merriam-Webster, but they're titled "near antonyms":

Near Antonyms aplomb, assurance, boldness, confidence, self-assurance, self-confidence; bravery, courage, courageousness, daring, dauntlessness, doughtiness, fearlessness, fortitude, gallantry, hardihood, intrepidity, intrepidness, stoutness, valor; audacity, guts, nerve

So ... I think I'll go with HARDIHOOD as my opposite. Do you think it has any relationship to the Hardy Brothers? Hmm?


I don't know.

I honestly think that the opposite of fear is ACTION. Think about it. What do you fear? What would happen if you took action instead of sitting in fear? What would you accomplish? What would you feel?

I think a synonym for fear should be procrastination.


  1. Well, I fear spiders so my action usually involves a shoe or a rolled up newspaper.

    But I think you've got a great synonym.

  2. Wow, that is a really deep question. If the emotion was fear as in a phobia, I would totally agree with comfort. But if it's fear as in something holding you back. . . I don't know. I'd have to go with bravery. Let us know when you find an answer, because I really want to know now. ;) Good luck figuring it out!