Old as Methuselah

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Old as Methuselah is an idiom that goes back to the fourteenth century. We will examine the meaning of the phrase old as Methuselah, where it comes from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Old as Methuselah is an idiom that means extremely old. Methuselah is the name of a character from the Old Testament of the Bible, he was the grandfather of Noah. Methuselah is said to have died at the age of 969, making him the longest-lived figure in the Bible. The name Methuselah translates as man of the dart. The idiom as old as Methuselah is a simile, which is a phrase that compares one thing to another using either the word as or the word like. Similes are used to provide emphasis or to make a description more colorful. The oldest known use of the idiom dates back to a work called F. J. Furnivall’s Minor Poems, written in 1390. Note that the word Methuselah in old as Methuselah is capitalized, as it pertains to a proper name.


“The way this was going I was starting to think I’d be as old as Methuselah before we got to this point,” said authority Chairman J. Michael Dowd, an Easton church pastor. (The Morning Call)

Bald cypress trees as old as Methuselah and piles of oyster shells first thrown out around the time of Jesus — these are among the environmental clues helping anthropologists better understand how early Indians used and managed the resources of the Chesapeake Bay region. (The Daily Press)

“We still have two other giant tortoises, but specimens as old as Methuselah are very rare and even harder to acquire.” (The Black Hills Pioneer)

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