Old English stepel (Mercian), stiepel (West Saxon) "high tower," related to steap "high, lofty," from Proto-Germanic *staupilaz (see steep (adj.)). Also the name of a lofty style of women's head-dress from the 14th century. Steeple-house (1640s) was the old Quaker way of referring to "a church edifice," to avoid in that sense using church, which had with them a more restricted meaning.
late 14c., jakke "a mechanical device," from the masc. name Jack. The proper name was used in Middle English for "any common fellow," and thereafter extended to various appliances which do the work of common servants (1570s). Also used generically of male animals (1620s, see jackass, jackdaw, etc.).
As a portable contrivance for raising weight by force from below, 1703. As the name of a device for pulling off boots from 1670s. The jack in a pack of playing cards (1670s) is in German Bauer "peasant." Slang meaning "money" is by 1890 (in earlier slang it meant "a small coin"). Jack-towel, one sewn together at the ends round a roller, is from 1795. The jack of Union Jack is a nautical term for "small flag at the bow of a ship" (1630s) and perhaps is from the word's secondary sense of "smaller than normal size."
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Definitions of steeplejack
someone who builds or maintains very tall structures;