JACOB'S-LADDER, n. A ladder which Jacob saw in a dream reaching from earth to heaven, with angels ascending and descending. Seeing that angels have wings, the purpose of this ladder is so imperfectly apparent that many learned commentators have contended that it was not a real ladder, but only a ray of glory. One cannot help thinking it rather hard on Jacob that he should be required to dream with logical realism.
2009 Update: In ancient scripture, a symbol of mystery. In old movies, a sign of science fiction.