A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 13, 2012
False Education Appearing Real (“fear” backronym)

The word “fear” is not an acronym, but it has been given the backronym of “false education appearing real.” The saying “false evidence appearing real” has been cited in print since at least 1953 (used by Christian scientists such as Mary Baker Eddy) and “false education appearing real” has been cited in print since 1983. The “fear” backronym has been popular with business motivational speakers.
A backronym for the word “luck”—used with “fear” in several of the citations below—is “Laboring Under Correct Knowledge.”
What does FEAR stand for?
FEAR False Expectations Appearing Real
FEAR False Experiences Appearing Real
FEAR False Evidence Appearing Real
FEAR False Education Appearing Real
What does FEAR stand for?
FEAR False Evidence Appearing Real
FEAR False Expectations Appearing Real
FEAR False Events Appearing Real
FEAR False Education Appearing Real
Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
fear noun
Definition of FEAR
1a : an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger b (1) : an instance of this emotion (2) : a state marked by this emotion
2: anxious concern : solicitude
3: profound reverence and awe especially toward God
4: reason for alarm : danger
Origin of FEAR
Middle English fer, from Old English fær sudden danger; akin to Old High German fāra ambush and perhaps to Latin periculum attempt, peril, Greek peiran to attempt
First Known Use: 12th century
Google News Archive
15 December 1953, Spokane (WA) Daily Chronicle, “Californian Lectures on Christian Science at Masonic Temple Auditorium in Spokane,” pg. 2, col. 5:
Here is a practical way of looking at the word “fear”: F stands for false, the E for evidence, the A for appearing, and the R for real. In other words, fear is “false evidence appearing real.” That is all fear is: false evidence appearing real.
Google Books
Doris Day:
Her own story

By Doris Day with A. E. Hotchner
New York, NY: Morrow
1976, ©1975
Pg. 139:
How often I repeated Mrs. Eddy’s definition of fear: “false evidence appearing real.”
29 October 1979, Frederick (MD) News, “Families Under Stress: Economic fear unjustified” by William D. Brown, pg. B3, col. 2:
When becoming fearful, stop and recall that fear is nothing more than—False; Evidence; Appearing; Real.
Google Books
Seeds of Greatness:
The ten best-kept secrets of total success

By Denis Waitley
Old Tappan, NJ: Revell
Pg. 114:
As we begin, let’s examine a few relevant terms and definitions:
Luck — Laboring Under Correct Knowledge. Once we know what we want to do and start preparing and doing it, we begin to have good luck.
Fear — False Education Appearing Real. As we learned earlier, most of what we fear is imaginary, has already happened, is easy to solve once defined, or is beyond our control.
7 May 1984, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, “Fire-walking a hot trend” by Beth Ann Krier, pg. D1, col. 5:
For them, fear is defined by anagram: “False Evidence Appearing Real.”
Google Books
If You Really Loved Me—
By Jordan Paul, Margaret Paul and Bonnie B Hesse
Minneapolis, MN: CompCare Publishers
Pg. 144:
Fears go away only when you test them out and see that they are a lie to yourself. Tolly Burkan in his firewalking workshop defines fear in the following way:
False Evidence Appearing Real
We use:
False Education Appearing Real
1 October 1995, Salina (KS) Journal, pg. C3, col. 4 ad:
“Master small things and big things become possible”
“F.E.A.R.—False Education Appearing Real”
(Phil Coleman motivational programs—ed.)   
Seeking Alpha
Be A ‘No-Limit Investor’ During An Undependable Stock Market Period
by: Marc Courtenay December 21, 2011
One of my early mentors told me that “LUCK” is an acronym for “Learning Under Correct Knowledge” and that “FEAR” was an acronym for “False Education Appearing Real.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Friday, January 13, 2012 • Permalink

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