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Jacob - What Does Your Name Mean?

Updated on January 11, 2015

What does the name Jacob mean, what is its origin and who are the famous Jacobs? Discover the story behind the name.

Name Meaning: Jacob

Jacob is a male name which is pronounced JAY-cob.

The name is derived from the ancient Hebrew name 'Ya'aqov' which became 'Iakobos' in Greek, then 'Jacobus' in Latin.

The exact meaning of Jacob is still not known for certain. Some believe that it means "surplanter" meaning one who takes over, especially by force or plotting, after the character in the Bible. Other suggested meanings are "heel puller", "leg puller", "following after" and "may God protect".

Jacob is also a surname, although suprisingly it was not originally a Jewish surname.

The name Jacob has over two hundred forms of spelling around the world. The English name 'James' is just one of many variants.

Name Origin: Jacob

Jacob was the son of Isaac and Rebekah. He was the younger of twin boys. According to the bible, Jacob was born holding onto the heel of his twin brother, Esau. He was the favorite of his mother, while his father favoured Esau. With the help of his mother, Jacob tricked his father into blessing him instead of Esau, making him his successor and ruler of the family. In fear that Esau would kill Jacob for the deception, Rebekah sent Jacob away to the safety of her brother's house.

On the way he had a vision of angels on a staircase to heaven. This is known as 'Jacob's Ladder'.

Jacob wrestled with an angel who changed his name to Israel. The country is named after him. He lived for 180 years, and he had twelve sons and a daughter to his two wives.

As the grandson of Abraham, Jacob is also revered as a Prophet of Islam. According to the Qur'an, Jacob did not deceive Isaac and receive the blessing intended for Esau.

The surname 'Jacob' became popular with the Crusades, where it was fashionable for returning soldiers to name children after Biblical figures.

Nicknames for Jacob

Coby, Jac, Jack, Jackie, Jacoby, Jak, Jake, Jakey, Jakie, Jeggy, Jocko, Kobe, Kobie, Koby

Famous Jacobs

Jacob Zuma - South African politician and president born 1942
Jacob Obrecht - Dutch composer - 1457-1505
Jacob Latimore - American singer born 1996
Jacob Grimm - German author of Grimm's Fairy Tales - 1785-1863
Jacob Hübner - German entomologist -1761-1826
Jacob M. Appel - American writer born 1973
Jacob Isaakszoon van Ruisdael - Dutch landscape painter - 1628-1682
Gordon Jacob - English composer - 1895-1984
Marc Jacobs - American fashion designer born 1963
Steve Jacobs - Australian TV presenter and actor born 1967

Jacob in Fiction

Jacob Marley - character from "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens
Jacob - ageless protector of the island in television's "Lost"
Jacob Black - a werewolf in the Twilight saga series.
Jacob - a poem by Arthur Hugh Clough
Jacob's Ladder - a 1990 film starring Tim Robbins
Jacob Langston - returned boy from the TV series "Resurrection"

Jacob in Music


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      Shasta Matova 6 years ago from USA

      Great detailed information about the name Jacob. Good work. Voted up.