C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Stiff opinion, always in the wrong.


Obstinacy is the strength of the weak.


Contention is a hydra’s head.

Robert Burton.

An obstinate man does not hold opinions, but they hold him.


Obstinacy and vehemency in opinion are the surest proofs of stupidity.


There are few, very few, that will own themselves in a mistake.


Obstinacy is ever most positive when it is most in the wrong.

Madame Necker.

Obstinacy and contention are common qualities, most appearing in, and best becoming, a mean and illiterate soul.


Firmness or stiffness of the mind is not from adherence to truth, but submission to prejudice.


Narrowness of mind is often the cause of obstinacy; we do not easily believe beyond what we see.

La Rochefoucauld.

The obstinacy of the indolent and weak is less conquerable than that of the fiery and bold.


Obstinacy in opinions holds the dogmatist in the chains of error, without hope of emancipation.


People first abandon reason, and then become obstinate; and the deeper they are in error the more angry they are.


Obstinacy is the strength of the weak. Firmness founded upon principle, upon the truth and right, order and law, duty and generosity, is the obstinacy of sages.


Obstinacy and heat in argument are surest proofs of folly. Is there anything so stubborn, obstinate, disdainful, contemplative, grave, or serious, as an ass?


  • Fools are stubborn in their way,
  • As coins are harden’d by th’ allay;
  • And obstinacy’s ne’er so stiff
  • As when ’tis in a wrong belief.
  • Butler.

  • You may as well
  • Forbid the sea for to obey the moon,
  • As, or by oath, remove, or counsel, shake
  • The fabric of his folly, whose foundation
  • Is pil’d upon his faith.
  • Shakespeare.

    Whatever excites the spirit of contradiction is capable of producing the last effects of heroism; which is only the highest pitch of obstinacy, in a good or bad cause, in wisdom or folly.


  • His still refuted quirks he still repeats,
  • New-raised objections with new quibbles meets;
  • Till sinking in the quicksand he defends,
  • He dies disputing, and the contest ends.
  • Cowper.

    I believe that obstinacy, or the dread of control and discipline, arises not so much from self-willedness as from a conscious defect of voluntary power; as foolhardiness is not seldom the disguise of conscious timidity.


    There is something in obstinacy which differs from every other passion. Whenever it fails, it never recovers, but either breaks like iron, or crumbles sulkily away, like a fractured arch. Most other passions have their periods of fatigue and rest, their sufferings and their cure; but obstinacy has no resource, and the first wound is mortal.


    If it be true that men of strong imaginations are usually dogmatists—and I am inclined to think it is so—it ought to follow that men of weak imaginations are the reverse; in which case we should have some compensation for stupidity. But it unfortunately happens that no dogmatist is more obstinate or less open to conviction than a fool.


    Obstinacy, sir, is certainly a great vice; and in the changeful state of political affairs it is frequently the cause of great mischief. It happens, however, very unfortunately, that almost the whole line of the great and masculine virtues—constancy, gravity, magnanimity, fortitude, fidelity, and firmness—are closely allied to this disagreeable quality, of which you have so just an abhorrence; and in their excess all these virtues very easily fall into it.