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The meaning and origin of the expression: As old as Methuselah

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As old as Methuselah

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Meaning

Very old.

Origin

Methuselah was a Hebrew patriarch who was supposed to have lived for 969 years. This unbelievable feat was recorded in print in English in Miles Coverdale's Bible, 1535:

Genesis 5:25 - Mathusalah was an uhdreth & seue and foure score yeare olde [187], & begat Lamech:
Genesis 5:26 - and lyued therafter seuen hundreth and two and foure score yeare [782], and begat sonnes & doughters.
Genesis 5:27 - And his whole age was nyene hundreth and nyene and trescore yeares [969], and so he dyed.

The phrase 'as old as Methuselah' can be traced back to at least the 14th century. An allusion to it is cited as circa 1390 in F. J. Furnivall's Minor Poems, 1901:

"...if a Mon may libben heer As longe as dude Matussale."

See also 'As old as the hills'.

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