Me·​thu·​se·​lah mə-ˈthü-zə-lə How to pronounce Methuselah (audio)
: an ancestor of Noah held to have lived 969 years
or methuselah : an oversize wine bottle holding about six liters

Did you know?

What do Jeroboam, Methuselah, Salmanazar, Balthazar, and Nebuchadnezzar have in common? Larger-than-life biblical figures all, yes (four kings and a venerable patriarch), but they're all also names of oversized wine bottles. A Jeroboam is usually the equivalent of about four 750-milliliter bottles (about 3 liters). One Methuselah holds about eight standard bottles' worth, a Salmanazar 12, a Balthazar 16, and a Nebuchadnezzar a whopping 20. (Each of these terms is also sometimes styled lowercase.) No one knows who decided to use those names for bottles, but we do know that by the 1800s Jeroboam was being used for large goblets or "enormous bottles of fabulous content." It wasn't until sometime early in the 20th century that Methuselah and all the other names were chosen for specific bottle sizes.

Word History


Hebrew Mĕthūshelaḥ

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Methuselah was before the 12th century


Dictionary Entries Near Methuselah

Cite this Entry

“Methuselah.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

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