Word of the Day : December 12, 2016

Methuselah

play
noun muh-THOO-zuh-luh

Definition

1 : an ancestor of Noah held to have lived 969 years

2 : 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.



Examples

The winery has started bottling their champagne in Methuselahs.

"People still write of the Krug 1928 as the best bottle of wine made in the last century. A bottle of it sold in 2009 for $21,200, and that wasn't a 6-liter Methuselah. It was a standard 750 milliliters of amazing." — Julie Glenn, The News-Press (Fort Myers, FL), 21 Jan. 2015



Test Your Vocabulary

What is the name for a large wine bottle holding about 1.5 liters?

VIEW THE ANSWER

Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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