any of various plants belonging to the genus Polemonium, of the phlox family, especially P. caeruleum (or P. van-bruntiae ), having blue, cup-shaped flowers and paired leaflets in a ladderlike arrangement.


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Cultural Dictionary

Jacob's ladder definition

A ladder that Jacob saw in a dream. After he had obtained his brother Esau's birthright and received his father's blessing, he had a vision of the angels of God ascending and descending a ladder that extended from Earth to heaven. God, who stood at the top of the ladder, promised to bless Jacob and his offspring and to bring his descendants into the Promised Land. (See Jacob and Esau.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
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