Me·​thu·​se·​lah | \ mə-ˈthü-zə-lə How to pronounce Methuselah (audio) , -ˈthyü-; -ˈth(y)üz-lə \

Definition of Methuselah

1 : an ancestor of Noah held to have lived 969 years
2 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 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. 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." Later, sometime early in the 20th century, "Methuselah" and all the other names were chosen for specific bottle sizes.

First Known Use of Methuselah

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

History and Etymology for Methuselah

Hebrew Mĕthūshelaḥ

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Methuselah

Time Traveler for Methuselah

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about Methuselah

Statistics for Methuselah

Cite this Entry

“Methuselah.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

Comments on Methuselah

What made you want to look up Methuselah? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

July 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • papercraft sunset
  • Which is a synonym of mien?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!