Idioms: “As certain as death and taxes.”

By Kaitlin Strohschein.
People pay taxes. Then, they die.
The above idiom suggests that death and taxes are among life’s unpleasant inevitabilities.
Two authors are credited with invention of the saying “as certain as death and taxes.”
The First was the English novelist/journalist Daniel DeFoe who also authored over 500 pieces of writing which ranged in length from pamphlets and tracts to full length books.
“Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed.” wrote DeFoe in The Political History of the Devil in 1726.
The second suspected author of the saying was Benjamin Franklin.
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” was written by Franklin in a letter to Jean-Baptist Leroy, in 1789.
Although the DeFoe saying appeared 63 years prior to Franklin’s, the latter is often attributed with the phrase’s invention because his saying more closely represents the idiom as it is commonly used, in the modern sense.
The 1939 novel “Gone With the Wind”, on which the eight Academy Award winning movie by the same title was based, contained another famous line about death and taxes: “Death, taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.”
The idiom conveys the thought that life contains certain things to which we are doomed. Among these are death and taxes.

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