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 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.

First Known Use of Methuselah

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

History and Etymology for Methuselah

Hebrew Mĕthūshelaḥ

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

Dictionary Entries Near Methuselah




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for Methuselah

Cite this Entry

“Methuselah.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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