1. the eldest son of Jacob and Leah. Gen. 29, 30.
  2. one of the 12 tribes of Israel, the tribe traditionally descended from him.
  3. Reuben sandwich.
  4. a male given name: from a Hebrew word meaning “behold a son.”

noun Old Testament

  1. the eldest son of Jacob and Leah: one of the 12 patriarchs of Israel (Genesis 29:30)
  2. the Israelite tribe descended from him
  3. the territory of this tribe, lying to the northeast of the Dead Sea

masc. proper name, Old Testament eldest son of Jacob and name of the tribe descended from him, from Greek Rouben, from Hebrew Reubhen, probably literally “Behold a son,” from reu, imperative of ra’ah “he saw” + ben “a son.” As a typical name of a farmer, rustic, or country bumpkin, from 1804. The reuben sandwich (1956) is “Not obviously connected” with the sense in rube [OED], possibly from Reuben’s restaurant, a popular spot in New York’s Lower East Side.

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