Terracotta jug from Byblos (now in the Louvre), Late Bronze Age (1600–1200 BC)
Byblos appears as Kebny (𓎡𓃀𓈖𓈉) in Egyptian hieroglyphic records going back to the 4th-dynasty pharaoh Sneferu (fl. 2600 BC) and as Gubla (𒁺𒆷) in the Akkadian cuneiform Amarna letters to the 18th-dynasty pharaohs Amenhotep III and IV. In the 1st millennium BC, its name appeared in Phoenician and Punic inscriptions as Gebal (𐤂𐤁𐤋, GBL); in the Hebrew Bible as Geval (גבל); and in Syriac as GBL (ܓܒܠ). The name seems to derive from GB (𐤂𐤁, "well") and ʾL (𐤀𐤋, "god"), the latter a word that could variously refer to any of the Canaanite gods or to their leader in particular. The name thus seems to have meant the "Well" or "Source of the God".
Its present Arabic name Jibayl (جبيل) or Jbeil (Lebanese pronunciation [ʒbejl]) is a direct descendant of these earlier names, although apparently modified by a misunderstanding of the name as the triliteral root GBL or JBL, meaning "mountain". During the Crusades, this name appeared in European records as Gibelet and Giblet. This name was used for Byblos Castle and
its associated lordship.
The Phoenician city, known to the Greeks as Býblos (Βύβλος) and to the Romans as Byblus, was important for their import of papyrus from Egypt. The English word "Bible", ultimately deriving from the Greek words bíblos (βίβλος) and biblíon (βιβλίον), may have originated with the Greeks' mispronunciation of the city or its Egyptian export.