belonging to, or connected with, as a rightful part or attribute; relating to


a place in which records and historical documents and items are preserved


told; ordered; requested; directed

cable’s length

a maritime unit of length; about 100 fathoms or 600 feet

cable tow

a twisted rope, usually of cotton or synthetic material, used symbolically to bind or make fast; originally a particularly strong rope also, a compound word of Masonic coinage combining cable (a rope) and tow (a rope for pulling).


of basic importance; main; primary; essential; principal


to draw a line around; to limit in range of activity definitely and clearly


carefulness in considering all circumstances and possible consequences


covered or clothed


to lead or tend to a particular and desirable result


having, consisting of, or relating to, a physical material body; not intangible


to deprive or take away from; to undress or remove clothing, ornaments or equipment


proper; according to accepted standards or procedures


to cut figures or letters into wood or metal

Entered Apprentice (EA)

An initiate of the first degree in Masonry. EAs are charged to work primarily at improving their moral character. The tools of an EA include the 24-inch gauge and common gavel.


to avoid committing oneself to what one says; uncertainty; uncertain or questioning disposition or mind


to produce as a pattern on a hard service by eating into the material’s surface as with acid or a laser beam


a member of a group having common characteristics; an associate; an equal in rank or power or character


strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger, or bear pain or adversity, with courage


of, or having to do with, or involving the throat

hail, hele, hale

to hide or conceal; to cover; to keep out of view


a blindfold



house not made

with hands, eternal

in the heavens

that which lies beyond death; heaven

(II Corinthians 5:1)


extending or existing since beyond the reach of memory, record or tradition


to give; to communicate knowledge of something; to make known; tell; relate


to write down; to put down in writing


belonging to a thing by its very nature; the essential nature or constitution of a thing; inherent; in and of itself


to give; to furnish; to clothe


not broken or disregarded; not told to others; respected


knowledge or understanding


of, or having to do with, or involving the hands


Motivated solely by a desire for monetary or material gain; greedy, venal.


the secret or specialized practices or ritual peculiar to an occupation or a body of people; rites or secrets known only to those initiated


great emotion; the emotions as distinguished from reason; powerful or compelling feelings or desires


in, on, or of the chest


of, or relating to, the foot or feet


a principal or instruction intended especially as a general rule of action


the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason; skill and good judgement in the management of affairs or the use of resources; caution or circumspection as to danger or risk

Saints John

Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist, the two ancient patron saints of Freemasonry


wearing footgear, with shoes on


constant in feeling, principle, purpose or attachment; dependable; firm in intent showing little variation or fluctuation; unwavering; resolute


to bring under control especially by an exertion of the will; to reduce the intensity or degree of; tone down


excess; unnecessary; immoderate, especially living habits or desires


exceeding what is needed; excess; extra; not needed; unnecessary


moderation in action, thought or feeling; self-restraint; a habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions; moderation in, or abstinence from, the use of intoxicating substances

tongue of good report

having a good reputation; those who know you report that you are a good report man; a credit to yourself and to society

usual vocation

your job; the manner in which you make your living


assert; affirm; attest; to verify; to supply supporting testirnony; to support as being true


to grant or furnish; to give by way of reply


an official having care or charge of some administrative aspect or an organization or some special supervisory duties; a British term used in the Episcopal Church and at various colleges and in government functions. In Masonry, a position equivalent to a First or Second Vice President.


notable; distinguished; worthy of respect; a British term used as a title for various persons or groups of rank or distinction

to caution advise or counsel against; to express warning or disapproval; to give friendly, earnest advice and encouragement
a skilled or artistic worker or craftsman; one who makes beautiful objects
doing or producing good
boundaries; limits
made of brass
freedom from bias, prejudice or malice; fairness; impartiality
the uppermost part of a column
an alternate, and earlier, form of the word capital
a supporting pillar consisting of a base, a cylindrical shaft and a capital
one of the five orders of architecture, combining the Corinthian and Ionic styles
fire, especially a large, disastrous fire
to look at attentively and thoughtfully; to consider carefully
to devise; to plan; to invent or build in an artistic or ingenious manner
one of the three classical (Greek) orders of architecture – the most ornamented of the three. Originated in the City of Corinth in Greece
an ancient unit of linear measure, approximately 18 inches in today’s measure
underneath; lower than its surroundings
showing insight and understanding; excellent judgement
scattered; spread widely
recurring every day; having a daily cycle
one of the three classical (Greek) orders of architecture – the oldest and simplest of the three, originated in an area of ancient Greece known as Doris
a building, especially one of imposing appearance or size
members of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, descended from Ephraim, one of the sons of Jacob
Fellow Craft (FC)

also a Fellow Craft, or craftsman, is a Mason who has been passed to the second degree of Masonry.  FCs are charged to continue their moral improvement, while also advised to improve their minds through the study, at least allegorically, of the classic seven liberal arts and sciences, especially geometry. The tools of FCs include the plumb, square and level.

respect or reverence paid or rendered; expression of high regard
an order or requirement placed upon someone by a superior
to overflow with water; a flood
one of the three classical (Greek) orders of architecture, originated in an area of ancient Greece known as Ionia
having, exercising or characterized by sound judgement; discreete; wise
one of the sons of Jacob, brother of Joseph, and a founder of one of the twelve tribes of Israel
A period of time during which one is considered a novice or beginner—a period of preparation.
to try to conceal the seriousness of an offense by excuses and apologies; to moderate the intensity of; to reduce the seriousness of; to relieve or lessen without curing
an upright architectural member that is rectangular in plane and is structurally a pier, but is architecturally treated as a column; it usually projects a third of its width or less from the wall
a ball or knob
to voice disapproval of; to express an attitude of unhappiness and disgust
producing a beneficial effect; remedial; promoting health; curative; wholesome
one at a time; each by itself; separately; independently
a written notice issued for an especially important meeting of a Lodge; the written notice or requirement by authority to appear at a place named
a geometrical object which is of two dimensions and exists in a single plane
anything based on, or rising from, some foundation or basis; an entity, concept or complex based on a more fundamental one
one of the five orders of architecture, originated in the Tuscany area of southern Italy
undiscovered country

from whose

bourne no

traveler returns

that which lies beyond death; the afterlife

Shakespeare, Hamlet: Act III, Scene 1

the successive, alternating or changing phases or conditions of life or fortune; ups and downs; the difficulties of life; difficulties or hardships which are part of a way of life or career

Any of various chiefly tropical trees of the genus Acacia, having compound leaves and tight clusters of small yellow or white flowers.

approval, commendation or praise; a formal or official act of approval
brute creation
animals at their birth; anything non-human in its infancy
One of the few words in English which mean two exactly opposite things. ‘Comes apart from’ or ‘joins with,’ ‘separates into distinct parts’ or ‘joins in a common mass,’ ‘splits’ or ‘unites.’
a decline of mental faculties associated with old age; a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and alertness
ambitious rivalry; ambition or desire to equal or excel others in achievement
an authoritative decree, sanction or order; a command or act of will that creates something without, or as if without, further effort; an arbitrary decree or order
100 oxen or cattle (in ancient Greece a public sacrifice of 100 oxen to the gods in thanks for some great discovery, event or victory)
Hiram Abif

According to Masonic myth, Grand Master Hiram Abif was the son of a widow sent to King Solomon to serve as the Chief Architect and artificer of Solomon’s Temple. In Masonic legend it is said that three FCs unjustly desired to know the secret Word of a Master Mason, and that they murdered Hiram when he refused to give it to them.  In Masonry he is associated with the Pillar of Beauty, the South of the Lodge, and the office of Junior Warden.

stain; soak; drench
a warning, order, direction or instruction
King Hiram of Tyre

According to Masonic myth, King Hiram supplied many of the workers and materials necessary for building King Solomon’s Temple.  In Masonry this Grand Master is associated with the Pillar of Strength, the West of the Lodge, and the office of Senior Warden.

King Solomon

Noted in the Bible as the son of King David and the builder of the Temple in Jerusalem, King Solomon was legendary for his wisdom in serving the people of Israel, and many believe that he authored the books of Proverbs and the Song of Songs.  In Masonry this Grand Master is associated wih the Pillar of Wisdom, the East of the Lodge, and the office of Worshipful Master.


The elected leader of the local lodge; also the title a Mason acquires once he has completed the third degree of membership.

Master Mason (MM)

One who has been raised to the third degree of Masonry, also called the “Sublime Degree”. MMs are charged to continue the work they began as EAs and FCs, but also to act as agents of brotherly love and to seek the Lost Word.  The tools of MMs include all the instruments of Masonry, but especially the trowel.

Master Mason’s Word
also known as the Lost Word or True Word. According to Masonic myth, this word was a Masonic secret originally known only to the ancient three Grand Masters: King Solomon, King Hiram of Tyre, and Hiram Abif.  Strangely, when Hiram Abif was murdered King Solomon lamented that the Word was lost, though he also declared that a key to the Word might be found on or near Hiram’s body. King Solomon made provisions for a “Substitute Word” to be used until future Masons could recover the True Word.
an order of angels; one of the 6-winged angels standing in the presence of God
theoretical rather than practical; involving, or based on, intellectual questioning and curiosity; marked by meditating or pondering on a subject
lofty, grand or exalted in thought; expression or manner; of outstanding spiritual, intellectual or moral worth; tending to inspire awe

enthusiasm; diligence; eagerness and great interest in pursuit of something


To make to conform or agree, bring into harmony.

Movement forward, i.e., the movement from one degree to the next.

Leather aprons were worn centuries ago by stonemasons to protect their skin and clothing, as well as to carry their tools. Today, lambskin or cloth aprons, often elaborately decorated or embroidered, are worn by members as a symbolic connection to those medieval craftmen from which it is purported that we derive our Masonic tradition.


A building block. A “rough ashlar” is one that has merely been excavated from a quarry. A “perfect ashlar” is one that has been squared and polished, and thus made fit for a builder’s use. Speculative Masons take the ashlar as a symbol for their minds and consciences.

a secret vote by balls and cubes or in writing
brought to light

term used in Masonic degree rituals to describe the moment when a candidate has his hoodwink (blindfold) removed, with implications of a more profound enlightenment. Also see “Enlightenment”.

bourn or bourne

A boundary, as between properties, limit.

builder’s art

The art of  architecture and stonemasonry is relied upon as the source of the allegorical methods and symbolic tools applied in the art of Speculative Freemasonry. The term also alludes to the designs and handiwork of the Grand Architect of the Universe (G.A.O.T.U.).

not recognized by the Grand Lodge of Florida.
Celestial Temple

Also the Celestial Lodge or the “House not made with hands”.  These are names by which Masons typically refer to that transcendent realm which awaits them after death, and/or an archetype of social and fraternal perfection.. However, due to the nonsectarian nature of Masonry, some Masons may interpret it differently, and even as a state of consciousness that is available to us here and now.


To draw a circular line by the compasses; symbolic of the boundary line of Masonic conduct.


Concealed, usually for some secret or illicit purpose. In Freemasonry, illegal, not authorized.


Opening made by a crack or crevice, a hollow between two parts.

Constituent Lodge
a Lodge chartered by, or under dispensation from a Grand Lodge

Strife or struggle.


 A Masonic term which means intruder or one who accidentally enters where he is not wanted. This is not to be confused with the word eavesdropper or one who deliberately tries to overhear and see what is not meant for his eyes and ears.


Another term for Masonry, which implies that there are certain skills to be learned and developed within a system of apprenticeship and mastery.

degrees of masonry
Indications of the level of membership and knowledge of Freemasonry principles. The basic degrees of Masonry are Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason.
a document, bearing the seal of a Lodge and attested to by the Secretary. In most states, it shows that a Mason is leaving one Lodge in order to join another.

definitions of this term are understood to be inadequate, but it refers to the direct and conscious realization of the essential nature of being, which concepts alone cannot attain. In common Western usage the term  is somewhat synonymous with illumination, revelation and epiphany.

When capitalized, as in ‘Enlightenment’ or ‘Age of Enlightenment’ it refers to the period of time (roughly the mid-1600’s to about 1800) when the ideas of rational thought and liberty developed. Modern Freemasonry is often said to be a product of the Enlightenment.


The use of equivocal language, e.g., words capable of two interpretations, cryptic, evasive, ambiguous.

fraternal intercourse
activities that promote fraternalism in constituent Lodges or Masonic Youth Orders
The word “free” was added to “mason” during the Middle Ages. The origin is uncertain, but may be related to stonemasons who worked as advanced stone carvers in “freestone.”
Grand Architect of the Universe (G.A.O.T.U.)

also Great or Supreme Architect etc. This is a term used by Masons to refer to the Supreme Being, which Masonic ritual also refers to as the Creator, Deity, and God. Masons are required to profess a belief in a Supreme Being, but according to Anderson’s Constitutions of 1723 every Mason has the right to maintain his own beliefs and religion.  Therefore every great religion of humanity is represented within the fraternity of Masonry.

Grand Lodge
The administrative body in charge of Freemasonry in a specific geographic area. The United States has Grand Lodges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Grand Master
The elected leader of the Grand Lodge.

From the Latin “guttur”, the throat.

in good standing
when dues are current
lay or inlay
The manner or position in which something is situated (lay). To set (a piece of wood, metal, etc.) into a surface to form a design that is usually level with the surface (inlay).

The symbolism of light has many philosophical, psychological and spiritual implications. Every Mason of every degree claims that light is what he seeks, and Masonry promises to deliver it in some measure, though it also instructs its members that further light must be sought beyond the traditional instructions and explanations of its ritual.  In this context, Masonry alludes to the light of insight and understanding. An important Masonic reference to light regards its prominence in the act of creation, as recorded in the first chapter of Genesis.

This refers to both a unit of Masons as well as the room or building in which they meet. There are approximately 13,000 lodges in the United States.

A member of the Masonic fraternity.

masonic clothing
white aprons
masonic intercourse
any communication involving the esoteric or secret portion of the ritual
Masonic Organizations
any group, chapter, order, club, association or organization requiring Masonic affiliation as a prerequisite to membership, except Masonic Lodges
masonic regalia
aprons, jewels, implements and hats appropriate to one’s station or office

Youth Orders

International Order of the Rainbow for Girls

International Order of Job’s Daughters

International Order of DeMolay


An ancient nonsectarian fraternity with initiatory ritual and symbolism based upon legends about the building of King Solomon’s Temple.

a call issued by the Secretary, by order of the Lodge or Master, or by other competent authority to attend or perform as specified

having willfully told a lie while under lawful oath or affirmation; having broken an oath.


One not initiated into the Fraternity of Craft, a non Mason.

Stated meeting

The monthly or bimonthly lodge meeting to conduct regular business, receive new members, and vote upon the Application for Degrees.


an imperative order issued by the Master, and attested to by the Secretary, or by other competent authority, to appear as specified; a trial summons is one issued for the purpose of answering Masonic charges


Another name for a Masonic building. The word is used in the same sense that Justice Wendell Holmes called the Supreme Court a “Temple of Justice.”


As used in Worshipful Master, From the Anglo-Saxon, worthship (worthy); honorable or respectable. The term has no religious or sacred implication.

Worshipful Master (WM)

also called Master of the Lodge, is the chief officer of a lodge.

Youth groups

Masonic organizations for young people that include DeMolay International for boys 12 to 21, Rainbow for Girls for girls 11 to 20, and Job’s Daughters for young women 11 to 20

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