Masonic Dictionary


47th proposition of Euclid Derived its name from the fact that it was the 47th problem in Euclid's geometry. Sometimes called problem or theorem, which are also correct. The 47th Proposition, or problem, is to prove that in a right angled triangle, the sum of the squares of the two sides is equal to the square of the hypotenuse. Masonically, it is an emblem of the arts and sciences and reminds us that next to sinfulness, the most dangerous enemy of life is ignorance.
- A -  
A.E.O.N.M.S.: Ancient Egyptian Order Nobles Mystic Shrine (Prince Hall Shrine).
Aaron enlightened. He was the brother and assistant of Moses, and the first high priest under Mosaic dispensation; hence, he was the founder of the "Aaronic" priesthood.
Aaron's Rod The staff carried by Aaron, brother of and assistant to Moses, as a token of his office which miraculously blossomed as evidence of his Divine choice as High Priest. It was afterwards preserved in the Ark of the Covenant.
Abhorrence of Evil Required of all true Masons.
Abif his father. An honorary title given to Hiram, the Tyrian builder. The word is used often in original Hebrew scriptures, but it does not appear in English versions.
Abraham father of a multitude. Abraham, earlier known as Abram, the son of Terah of Ur, and whose name was changed to Abraham by God, was the founder of the Hebrew race. He was noted for his faith, for piety, and for his loyalty to God.
Acacia The timber of the Shittim tree, widely used in making the sacred furniture of the Temple. In speculative Masonry, the term is used as a symbol of the immortality of the soul.
ACCEPTED The Latin accipere, receive, was from ad, meaning "to," and capere, meaning "take," therefore to take, to receive. The passive apprenticeship and initiation, but after the participle of this was acceptus. In Operative Masonry members were admitted through course of time, and when the Craft had begun to decay, gentlemen who had no intention of doing builders' work but were interested in the Craft for social, or perhaps for antiquarian reasons, were accepted" into membership; to distinguish these gentlemen Masons from the Operatives in the membership they were called the "Accepted." After 1717, when the whole Craft was revolutionized into a Fraternity, all members became non-Operatives, hence our use of the word in such phrases as "Free and Accepted Masons."
Accord agreement; concurrence. To make to conform or agree; bring into harmony. Required of all Masons in order to attain true Brotherhood.
Active Member An active member is one who maintains his membership in a Masonic Lodge by the payment of his regular dues and who takes part in the work and responsibilities of the Craft. One who fails to do these things may remain a Mason in heart, but deprives himself of the benefits of membership.
Adam earthborn: ruddy. This is the name given to the first man in Biblical creation, and the name denotes that he was derived from the ground.
Adjournment The Worshipful Master is the sole judge with reference to the adjournment of a Lodge.
Admonish One of the most exacting duties in the ethics of Freemasonry is that a Mason shall not publicize the faults of a Brother Mason, but shall whisper good counsel in his ear. An admonition must be given with the language of brotherly affection, the magic tongue of love, and with the persuasive attitude of "mercy unrestrained."
Adonai The lord. While this proper name is not found in our English Bible, it occurs in several passages of the original Greek and Hebrew texts, and is the special title of the pre-incarnate Son of God.
Adoration A fundamental tenet of Freemasonry is that God is supreme, pre-eminent, and exalted above all creation, and the He alone is to be worshipped. Throughout all of the Degrees and in all of the ritual of Masonry God is worshipped in adorations which are expressed in both silent and oral prayers.
Advance Going from one degree to the next after showing proficiency in the preceding degree.
Adverse Ballot In case the ballot on a petition for the degrees or for affiliation is adverse, the Master may, if he so desires, spread the ballot again to make certain no error occurred. In so doing, he should state his reason for the second spreading. The ballot shall not be spread a third time.
Adversity Freemasonry believes that adversity should be accepted as a test of character and met with courage and prayer. Also, a Mason should go to the aid of a Brother Mason in adversity.
AFFILIATE Filius is Latin for son, filia for daughter; the prefix "af" is a form of the Latin ad, meaning to add to. To be affiliated means therefore to be adopted into a family as a son or daughter, a meaning that beautifully covers a Mason's relation to his Lodge once he has affiliated with it.
Affirmation Affirmations are a promise but only oaths are admissible in Freemasonry.
Age, Lawful This is the age when a man may apply to join a Masonic Lodge. In many jurisdictions, it is the age of twenty-one (21); in others, such as the Grand Lodge of Missouri, it is eighteen (18).
Agreeably In conformity with.
Aid of Deity A fundamental principle of Freemasonry as illustrated in David's intercession for Solomon for the task of building the Temple.
Alarm The Latin for weapons, or arms, was arma. Our "art" and "article" came from the same root, art meaning something originally made by the use of the arms, hands and fingers. The English "alarm" goes back directly to the Italian alle arme, and ultimately to the Latin ad arma so that "alarm" means "to arms, signifying that something has happened of possible danger. A knock at the Lodge door is so named because it calls for alertness, lest the wrong man be permitted to enter.
All Seeing Eye A perpetual and permanent symbol in the Lodge and work of Freemasonry, signifying the omnipresence and omniscience of God. An emblem reminding us that we are constantly in God's presence.
Allegiance A Mason owes allegiance first to the Lodge in which membership is held; and, second, to the Grand Lodge under which the Lodge is chartered. Should there be a conflict between the regulations of the Lodge and the supreme body (Grand Lodge), then allegiance to the supreme body is mandatory.
Allegorical An allegory is a story told through symbols, or an idea so expressed.
Allegory Analogy or comparison; a story told to illustrate a principle. It comes from the Greek meaning "to say something different." The Greeks called a place of public assembly agora; from this they built the word agoreuein, meaning speak, in the sense of ad-dressing a public. When to this is added alias, meaning another, the compound gives us our "allegory," which is the speaking about one thing in the terms of something else. In Masonry we have the allegory of Solomon's Temple, of a journey, of the legend of a martyr builder, etc., in each case the acting and describing of one thing being intended to refer to some other thing. For example, the building of Solomon's Temple is described, not for the purpose of telling how that structure was erected, but to suggest boxy men may work together in brotherliness at a common task.
Almsgiving gratuitously relieving the poor. Solemnly charged upon all Masons on the basis of Divine Commandments.
ALPHA and OMEGA First and last Greek letters of the alphabet. The beginning and the end of all things; the first and the last, often mentioned in the Scriptures and in several of the Masonic degrees.
Altar place of sacrifice or worship. Alt, in Latin, referred to height, preserved in our "altitude;" this root appeared in altare, literally meaning a "high place." In primitive religion it was a common practice to make sacrifices, or conduct worship, on the top of a hill, or high platform, so that "altar" came to be applied to any stone, post, platform, or other elevation used for such purposes. In. the Lodge the altar is the most holy place. The altar holds the central place in the Lodge room of Freemasons. Lying on the altar is the Holy bible, the principal Light of Masons, which is open during the work of the Lodge. Here, Masons voluntarily kneel and assume the oaths and obligations of the several Degrees.
Amem From the Hebrew meaning "verily, truly, certainly." One person confirms the words of another. Masonically, answered by "So mote it be."
Anchor In those Degrees of Masonry where the ceremonies and instructions relate to life and death, man's journey over the sea of life is symbolized by Noah's Ark, and the hope of immortality and a safe landing in the haven of eternal security is symbolized by the anchor.
Ancient Old, time honored.
Anger vexation; ire; rage. The tenets of Freemasonry teach its members to avoid and to subdue every element of ire and wrath, or enraged emotions and malicious emotions and sentiments.
Anno Benefacio (A.B.) Latin for "In the Year of the Blessing." Used by the Order of High Priesthood for dating their documents. (1930 added to the current date.)
Anno Depositionis (A.Dep.) Latin for "In the Year of the Deposit. "The Cryptic Masonic date designation. (Add 1000 to the current date.)
Anno Domini (A.D.) Latin for "Year of our Lord."
Anno Inventionis (A.I.) Latin meaning "In the Year of Discovery." The Royal Arch date designation. (Add 530 to the current date.)
Anno Lucis (A.L.) Latin mean­ing "In the Year of Light," the date used by Ancient Craft Masonry. (Add 4000 to the current date.)
Anno Mundi (A.M.) Latin meaning "In the Year of the World." The date used by the Scottish Rite. (Add 3760 to the current year until September; if after September, add 3761.
Anno Ordinnis (A.O.) Latin meaning "In the Year of the Order." The date used by the Knights Templar. Subtract 1118 from the current date.)
Anoint To apply oil to, or pour oil on, particularly holy oil as a sign of elevation to kingship or consecration to priesthood. Hence, "anointed," one accepted by the Lord, as "The Lord's anointed." . Comes from the custom of the Egyptians and Jews.
Anxiety painful uneasiness. Freemasonry discourages every form of undue concern about material things, and stresses simple trust in God and his providences.
Apprentice In Latin apprehendre meant to lay hold of a thing in the sense of learning to understand it, the origin of our "apprehend." This became contracted into apprendre and was applied to a young man beginning to learn a trade. The latter term came into circulation among European languages and, through the Operative Masons, gave us our "apprentice," that is, one who is beginning to learn Masonry. An "Entered Apprentice" is one whose name has been entered in the books of the Lodge.
Apron The badge of a Mason. Originally among priesthoods as a badge of office and a means of ornamentation. The Masonic apron should be white lambskin, fourteen inches wide and twelve inches deep. It should be presented to the candidate at his initiation and not at some subsequent time. No substitute should be used. From the French word napron meaning "an apron of cloth." From earliest times in Persia, Egypt, India, the Jewish Essenes, the white apron was a badge of honor and candidates were invested with it, or a sash, or a robe. Its reference is to purity of heart, to innocence of conduct. In early English, napron was used of a cloth, a tablecloth, whence our napery, nap-kin; it apparently was derived from the Latin map pa, the source of "map." "Apron is a misdivided form of "a napron," and meant a cloth, more particularly a cloth tied on in front to protect the clothes. The Operative Masons wore a leather apron out of necessity; when the craft became speculative this garment, so long identified with building work was retained as the badge of Masons; also as a symbol of purity, a meaning attached to it, probably, in comparatively recent times, though of this one cannot be certain.
Apron, Washington's George Washington was presented with an apron at Mount Vernon by the Marquis Lafayette. Many of the emblems of Freemasonry had been wrought in the needlework upon white satin by Madam Lafayette for the making of this apron, and it was conveyed from Paris to George Washington's home Lodge by Lafayette himself as a special honor.
Arch, Holy Royal Job compares Heaven to an arch supported by pillars. This is, of course, allegorical, even as is the name "Holy Royal Arch" degree in Masonry. The pillars which support the arch are emblematical of Wisdom and Strength; the former denoting the wisdom of the Supreme Architect, and the latter the stability of the universe.
Architect One who designs buildings.
Architecture The art or science of building. The five orders of architecture recognized in Freemasonry are Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan and Composite. The Doric order represents the West; the Corinthian Column represents the South. The Gothic, or pointed style of architecture, was intimately connected with the Middle Ages, over which Freemasonry maintained exclusive control.
Archives A place for the safe keeping of records ; the records themselves.
Ark of the Covenant The Ark of the Covenant was a chest originally constructed according to specific instructions given to Moses by God, and was the only article placed in the Holy of Holies in the Temple. Within the Ark were placed the two tables or tablets of stone on which the Ten Commandments were engraved, Aaron's baton which had budded as a token of his divine appointment to the office of High Priest, and a pot of manna.
Artificers a craftsman or skilled workmen. A skilled worker, craftsman. A person adept at designing and constructing, an inventor. Tubal-cain was the first notable artificer mentioned in history. The best available of these master craftsmen were employed in the building of the Temple.
Arts Branches of learning, as in the lecture of the F.C. degree. In E.A. degree: skills.
Arts and Sciences Freemasonry recognizes the seven principal arts and sciences as: Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy.
Arts, Parts and Points These terms are used in the mysteries of Masonry. Arts represents the knowledge or things made known; Parts, the degrees into which Masonry is divided; and Points, the rules and usages of Masonry.
Asher fortunate; happy. Asher was the eighth some on Jacob and the founder of the tribe of the same name. In the tribal blessings promised to him, his tribe was to enjoy richness and royal dainties. Hence, entrusting the Masonic initiates with the mysteries of the Order is symbolized by the tribe of Asher.
Ashlar A block of stone from which a column, capital, or other finished product is carved or hewn; A stone as taken from the quarry; an unpolished stone. The Latin assis was a board or plank; in the diminutive form, assula, it meant a small board, like a shingle, or a chip. In this con-nection it is interesting to note that our "axle" and' "axis" were derived from it. In early English this became asheler and was used to denote a stone in the rough as it came from the quarries. The Operative Masons called such a stone a "rough ashlar," and when it had been shaped and finished for its place in the wall they called it a "perfect ashlar." An Apprentice is a rough ashlar, because unfinished, whereas a Master Mason is a perfect ashlar, because he has been shaped for his place in the organization of the Craft.
Ask, Seek, Knock The applicant for membership in Freemasonry Asks for acceptance, Seeks for Light, and Knocks for initiation.
Atheism denial of the existence of a Supreme Deity. No atheist can become a Mason. Every candidate must confess faith in God before crossing the threshold of the Lodge. This confession is an essential element in all the work of a Masonic Lodge.
Atheist One who does not believe in God. The Greek for God was theos; when the j prefix a was placed before it, we get the origin j of "atheism," signifying a denial of the god, or gods. The word should be distinguished from "agnosticism," which means neither to affirm nor to deny but to remain in doubt; and from "infidel," which means that one does not believe some doctrine. Christians call Mohammedans "infidels" because they do not believe the Bible; Mohammendans call Christians "infidels" because they do not believe the Koran. Inasmuch as Masonry requires of a petitioner that he believe in God the atheist is automatically excluded from the Fraternity.
Audi, Vide, Tace These Latin words form the motto often found on Masonic medals and documents. They mean: Hear, See, Be Silent.
- B -  
Babbler senseless talker. Freemasonry recognizes the unprofitableness of vague and senseless talk, and forbids babbling in and out of Lodge.
Backbiting slandering an absent party. Every form of slander, especially the speaking of evil of an absent Brother, is expressly forbidden by the principles and laws of Freemasonry.
Badge of a Mason See Apron (above).
Balloting Balloting on the acceptance or rejection of a candidate is secret; small round white and black balls are used in voting. White balls elect; black balls reject. In casting the ballot, all members are required to base their ballot on personal knowledge, information of the committee on investigation, and reputed character of the candidate. Under no circumstances are members to allow themselves to be influenced by personal likes and dislikes of the candidate or by a spirit of prejudice or revenge. Every member is required to vote conscientiously for the good of the Order and in Brotherly consideration of the applicant. The candidate is rejected if one or more black balls are cast against him.
Banishment compulsory exile of one who is unworthy. The practice of Freemasonry in banishing from its membership unworthy persons is fully sustained by Biblical authority and practice.
Barefoot The removal of one or both shoes has been for many hundreds of years a token of reverence and a symbol of yielding one's self to the control and sovereignty of another.
Beauty Operative Masonry has as its chief objective beauty and symmetry in architecture in building of King Solomon's Temple; speculative Masonry emphasizes the beauty of character and the virtues of true manhood.
Beehive Among the ancients, the beehive was a symbol of an obedient people and an emblem of systematized industry. Hence, Freemasonry has adopted the beehive as a symbol on industry -- a virtue stressed in ritual and by lectures. What one may not be able to accomplish alone may be easily performed when all work together at one task.
Benediction A Lodge must never be closed without a solemn invocation of Divine Blessing.
Benevolence disposition to do good; charitableness. Strictly speaking, Freemasonry is not to be classified as a benevolent institution; but the disposition and practice of benevolence of the widest and most generous scope are strongly stressed by the Fraternity.
Bible sacred Book of Christendom. The Great Light of Freemasonry. Masons accept this Book and believe in it as the Law of God, as the Great Light of Freemasonry. It is an open Book on the altar during all work of the Lodge, and certain appropriate passages are used for the different Degrees.
Bigotry intolerance toward those of different creeds or religious affiliations. Masonry has always been bitterly opposed to religious intolerance of every kind. As an institution, it has bee the harbinger of religious and civil freedom, liberty of conscience, and separation of church and state.
Blazing Star Symbol of light; of Divine direction in the journey through life; symbolizes a true Freemason who, by perfecting himself in the way of truth (knowledge), becomes like a blazing star. In English lodges, symbolizes sun which enlightens the earth, dispensing its blessings to all mankind and giving light and life to all things.
Blue Blue is the color of Freemasonry. As the color of the vault of Heaven, which embraces and covers the entire earth, it is to a Mason the symbol of universal friendship and benevolence. Expect for white, blue is the only color ever used for decoration in a Master Mason's Lodge. The name "Blue Lodge" designates the Symbolic Lodge in which the first three degrees are conferred.
Blue Lodge A term which has grown into use over the years meaning the three degrees of the lodge, or Symbolic Masonry. In the early years, Master Masons wore blue lined aprons. Blue is symbolic of perfection, benevolence, truth, universal friendship, fidelity.
Boaz strength. Comes from the Hebrew meaning "in strength." The name of the left-hand pillar that stood on the porch of King Solomon's Temple, and adopted into speculative Masonry because of its symbolic meaning. It was broken to pieces by the Babylonians and carried to the city of Babylon.
Book of Constitutions An emblem of law signifying that our moral and spiritual character is grounded in law and order and that no man can live a satisfying life who lives lawlessly.
Book of Constitutions guarded by the Tyler's Sword An admonishment to the Mason that he should be guarded in his words and actions; obedience to the law.
Book Of The Law The sacred book which reveals the will of God. To Christians, the Bible; to the Brahman, the Vedas, etc.
Bourn; Bourne A boundary, as between properties; limit
Brass hard metal formerly made primarily of copper, but later of certain alloys. This metal was used extensively in the building of the Temple.
Brethren The term is used in speaking of Masons, and in this connection is preferable to "brothers."
Broken Column Columns or pillars were used among the early Hebrews to signify nobles or princes; it is from such that we get the expression "pillar of the church." Masonically, the broken column refers to the fall of one of the chief supporters of the Craft; an untimely death.
BROTHER This word is one of the oldest, as it is one of the most beautiful, in any language. No-body knows where or when it originated, but it is certain that it existed in the Sanskrit, in a form strikingly similar to that used by us. In Greek it was phrater, in the Latin frater, whence our "fraternal" and "fraternalism." It has always meant men from the same parents, or men knit by very close blood ties. When associated with "initiation, which las the general meaning of "being born into," one can see how appropriate is its k use in Freemasonry. All of us have, through initiation in our "mother" Lodges, been born into a Masonry and therefore we are "brothers," and that which holds us together in one great family is the "Mystic Tie," the Masonic analogue of the blood tie among kinsmen.
Brotherly Love Freemasonry recognizes the Divine requirement that godly men love their neighbors and that this love should be for all mankind. Emphasis is lain upon the privilege and duty of special love for members of the Fraternity. There are certain bonds and obligations in Freemasonry which are fulfilled only in the spirit of true brotherhood.
Building of the Temple Speculative Masonry was evolved from the organization of the workmen in the construction of Solomon's Temple and the union of operative masons who labored on that notable and Holy Building. Much of the ritual is traced directly back to the building of the Temple.
Burial From time immemorial, Freemasons have given special attention to the interment of their dead, and the proper burial of a Brother Mason is regarded as a sacred and binding duty. Solemn, beautiful and profoundly meaningful burial rites and ceremonies are provided for deceased Brothers where such are requested by the Brother himself or by members of his family.
Busybodies meddling persons. The principles and tenets of Freemasonry forbid every form of whispering, talebearing, gossiping and slander.
- C -  
Cable Tow A cable tow is a rope or line for drawing or leading. A compound word of Masonic coinage combining cable (a rope) and tow (a rope for pulling). Symbolically, it represents the covenant by which all Masons are bound; the tie by which the candidate is bound to his brethren; the length of a Mason's cable tow is the scope of his ability to go to the relief of a brother in need. In early years the distance was three miles; in present time it is usually considered about forty miles.
Cabul sterile. As an expression of appreciation for the assistance given him in the building of the Temple by Hiram, King of Tyre, Solomon presented to him a district in northern Galilee containing twenty small towns. The area was barren and quite poor. Hiram gave to the district the name "Cabal," meaning "displeasing."
Calendar, Masonic Masons date their official documents in a manner peculiar to themselves. The various dates for the different bodies are based on important points in history.
CANDIDATE Among Romans it was the custom for a man seeking office to wear a shining white robe. Since the name for such a color was candidus (whence our "candid"), the office seeker came to be called candidate. In our ceremonies the custom is reversed: the candidate is clothed after his election instead of before.
Canopy A tent-like covering. "Canopy of heaven", the sky.
CARDINAL Of basic importance. In Masonry we have "cardinal points" and "cardinal virtues." The Greeks had kradan, meaning, "swing on," and the Romans had cardo, meaning "hinge." The roots mean that on which a thing swings, or hinges, on which a thing depends or hangs, therefore anything that is of fundamental or pivotal, importance. A member of the Sacred College of the Roman Church is a Cardinal because of the importance of his office, which ranks next in dignity to that of the Pope. The cardinal points of the compass are those from which are determined all other points, north, east, south, west; the cardinal virtues are those which are fundamental to all other virtues.
Cardinal Points East: Wisdom; West: Strength; South: Beauty; North: Darkness.
Cardinal Virtues Cardinal comes from the Latin cardo meaning "chief or fundamental." These are the pre-eminent or principal virtues of which all others hinge. As set forth in the Entered Apprentice Degree, they are Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice
Carnality Freemasonry recognizes the fact that man has certain fleshly appetites which are natural to humanity, and admits their satisfaction in a temperate measure through legitimate channels (marriage). Yet, Freemasonry teaches moderation, self-control, temperateness, regularity, and lawfulness in all carnal desires and relations.
Catechism Instructions of Freemasonry.
Cedars Members of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon, a non-Masonic organization composed of Freemasons.
Cedars of Lebanon Among the finest and most perfect cedars ever known in history of the world were those of Lebanon. Through his alliance with Hiram, King of Tyre, Solomon secured cedars from these mountains for use in construction of the Temple.
Celestial Canopy Symbolic covering of the lodge; heavenly.
Cement Brotherly love binds Freemasons of all coun­tries, races and creeds in one common brotherhood.
CEREMONY The Latin caerimonia referred to a set of formal acts having a sacred, or revered, character. A ceremony differs from a merely formal act in that it has a religious significance; a formality becomes a ceremony only when it is made sacred. A "ceremony" may be individual, or may involve only two per-sons; a rite" (see below under "ritual") is more public, and necessarily involves many. An "observance" is public, as when the whole nation "observes" Memorial Day. A "Master of Ceremonies" is one who directs and regulates forms, rites and ceremonies.
Chalk, Charcoal and Clay Freedom, fervency, and zeal.
Chambers In the erection of King Solomon's Temple, a series of chambers were built on three sides of the Temple (north, south and west). This building against the wall of the Temple were three stories high (30 feet). These small chambers were used for Temple offices and for storage.
Chapiters The ornamental tops or capitals of pillars.
Charge Among the most beautiful and forceful features of the work of Masonry are the solemn and exacting charges given to the candidate as he advances from one Degree to another.
Charity acts of inward love. The three great cardinal virtues are Faith, Hope and Love. Charity as an act of genuine, heart-felt love is so closely related that it is sometimes employed in the place of Love, and is regarded as one of the three great cardinal virtues. Charity in its various implications and forms of action hold a high place in the life of every Freemason. The Greeks had a word, charisma, meaning a gift, and a number of words from the same root, variously suggesting rejoicing, gladness. The Latins had a similar word, carus, and meaning dear, possibly connected with am or, signifying love. From these roots came "grace," meaning a free, unbought gift, as in the theological phrase, "the grace of God," and "charity." Strictly speaking, charity is an act done freely, and spontaneously out of friendship, not as a civic duty and grudgingly, as is sometimes the case in public charity. The Masonic use of the word is much nearer this original sense, for a Mason extends relief to a needy brother not as a duty but out of friendship.
Charter A document setting forth a set of granted rights and privileges given by the Grand Lodge to the constituent Lodge at the tinic of Constitution. The Master is its custodian, and must see to its security at all times. The charter must be in the Lodge room during all communications of the Lodge, preferably in the Master's charge, but it may be on the Secretary's desk, or in the archives of the Lodge. It should not be framed to hang on the wall. The request of a visitor to inspect the charter in advance be granted or refused. Should the charter be lost or destroyed, the Grand Master or Grand Secretary should be notified at once. Pending the issuing of a duplicate charter, a permission, or dispensation to continue work should be obtained from the Grand Master. In Latin charta was a paper, a card, a map; in Medieval Latin this became an official paper, as in the case of "Magna Charta." Our "chart" and "card" are derived from the same root. A Masonic charter is the written paper, or instrument, empowering a group of brethren to act as a Lodge.
Chasity purity in sexual relations. Freemasonry stands uncompromisingly for the purity of womanhood and for the protection of a woman's chastity. Sacred obligations with respect to certain phases of chastity have been assumed by every Mason, and he is bound in honor and under severe penalties to keep untainted these obligations.
Chasten To correct by discipline.
Checkered Floor The Mosaic Pavement.
Christian Virtues Faith, Hope, and Charity.
Circle A figure which has neither beginning nor end and symbolizes eternity; the universe.
Circumscribed To draw a circular line by the compasses; symbolic of the boundary line of Masonic conduct. Literally encircled hence limited.
Circumambulation The movement is in imitation of the apparent course of the sun, and so is in the form of an ellipse. After the obligation the Senior Deacon with the candidate should make all turns square. In Masonic terminology this is the technical name of that ceremony in which the candidate walks around the Lodge. The word 4 is derived from the Latin prefix cireum, meaning "around," and ainbulare, meaning "walk," whence our ambulate, ambulatory, etc.; a circumambulation is therefore a walking around. In ancient religions and mysteries the worshippers walked around an altar; imitating the movements of the sun; this became known as circumambulation, and is the origin of our own ceremony.
Citizenship Perhaps no institution or organization has contributed more to good citizenship than Freemasonry. Democratic principles, good government, freedom of conscience and civic liberty have always been championed by Masons. Many of the world's great patriots and statesmen of all nations have been members of the Fraternity. Loyalty to one's government, faithfulness in all the duties of citizenship, and active support of public institutions are demanded throughout all the rituals of Freemasonry.
Clandestine Concealed, usually for some secret or illicit purpose. In Freemasonry, illegal, not authorized. In Anglo Saxon "helan" meant something hidden, or secret, a meaning preserved in "conceal;" "hell," the hidden place, is from the same word. Helan descended' from the Latin celare, hide; and on this was built the Latin clandestinus, secret, hidden, furtive. In English clandestine, thus derived, came to mean a bad secret, one that must be indulged in furtively. A secret may be innocent; it is merely something done without the knowledge of others, and nothing is more common; but a clandestine act is one done in such a way as to elude observation. Clandestine Masonry is a bad kind of irregular and unlawful secret society falsely claiming to be Masonic. In the Constitutions a Clandestine Mason is defined as, "One claiming to be a Free and Accepted Mason not having received the degrees in a Lodge recognized as regular by the Grand Lodge of the State of New York."
Clay Ground The use of this term in Masonic work is based on the fact that a special clay found only in the Jordan Valley was used in casting the two great pillars, called Boaz and Jachin, which stood before the Great Porch of Solomon's Temple. This same clay was also used for casting ornaments and vessels used in the Temple.
Cleft Opening made by a crack or crevice; a hollow between two parts.
Clods of the Valley This term is used in Masonic ritual in its Biblical meaning and signifies the sweetness of rest for the dead of the Lord.
Clothed, Properly With white gloves and apron, and the jewel of his Masonic rank. Today the gloves are usually dispensed with.
Clothing It has always been the custom among all peoples for designated officers, leaders, and people of rank to wear special regalia or a particular type of clothing which indicates a person's official position. Based on this custom and upon Biblical examples, and for reasons of dignity and beauty, Masons follow this practice. In early English cloth was used of garment, dress, and shows up in our clad, cloth, clothe, clothing. Clothing is the set of garments, or coverings, by which the body is protected from the weather and concealed from view. In Masonic usage the meaning is much narrower and more technical; a Mason is clothed when he wears the apron, white gloves, and the emblem of his rank. The apron and gloves are also employed as symbols, though gloves have pretty much fallen into disuse in American Masonry.
Column From the Latin culmen meaning "a pillar to support or adorn a building." In Masonry the symbolic Significance pertains to the supports of a lodge; Three columns are employed; the columns of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty. The Greeks called the top or summit of anything kolophon; in Latin culmen had a similar meaning; from these origins come our culmination ;" excelsior, colophon, colonnade, colonel, and climax appears to he closely related to it. A "column" is a cylindrical, or slightly tapering, support; a "pillar" is a rectangular support. Either may stand free or be incorporated into the building fabric. The officers of a Lodge are figured as columns because they are the supports of the official fabric of the Lodge. The Great Pillars are symbolical representations of the two pillars, which stood on the Porch of King Solomon's Temple.
Columns, Wardens Represent Jachin and Boaz. While the lodge is at work the columns are erect and horizontal, respectively; while on refreshment, such positions are reversed.
Communication A Masonic Lodge meeting is called a "communication" because it dates back to the earliest meaning of the word -- the having of things in common, the fellowship of men engaged in a common purpose, governed by a common principle, and participation in common interests and activities. There is some dispute as to the origin of this word but usually it is held to have come from communis, a Latin term for general, or universal, whence our common, common wealth, communion, communism, communal and many similar words. To communicate is to share something with others so that all may partake of it; a communication is an act, transaction, or deliberation shared in by all present. From this it will be seen how appropriate is our use of the word to designate those official Lodge meetings in which all members have a part or a voice.
Compass A mathematical instrument for dividing and drawing circles; an instrument indicating the magnetic meridian.
Compasses The compasses are emblems of virtue, the true and holy measure of a Mason's life and conduct. One of the Working Tools. Freemasons have adopted the plural spelling to distinguish it from the magnetic compass. This is the plural of compass, from the Latin corn, meaning "together," and passus, meaning a pass, step, way, or route. Contrivance, cunning, encompass, pass, pace derive from the same roots. A circle was once described as a compass because all the steps in making it were ''together," that is, of the same distance from the center; and the word, natural transition, became applied to the familiar two-legged' instrument for drawing a circle. Some Masons use the word in the singular, as in "square and compass," hut the plural form "square and compasses" would appear to he preferable, especially since it immediately distinguishes the working tool from the mariner's compass, with which it might be otherwise confused by the uninformed.
CONSECRATION Sacer was the Latin for something set aside as holy. By prefixing con, meaning "together," consecrare resulted, the general significance of which was that by adding to some holy object a formal ceremony the object was declared to be holy to the public, and must therefore be treated as such. The ceremony of consecrating a Lodge room is a way of giving notice to the public that it has been dedicated, or set aside, for Masonic purposes only.
CONSTITUTION Statuere meant that a thing was set, or placed, or established; when con was added (see immediately above) constituere meant than an official ceremony had set, or fixed, or placed a thing. From the same source come statue, statute, institute, restitute, etc. A Lodge is "constituted" when it is formally and officially set up, and given its own permanent place in the Fraternity.
Contention Strife or struggle.
Contention Among Brethren Whenever and wherever men are grouped together for any purpose or a brotherhood is formed, differences of opinion will arise, conflicting interests will present themselves and the spirit of true brotherhood can be threatened. Among Freemasons, every effort must be put forth to prevent such circumstances from producing contention. Masons can agree to disagree.
Corn, Wine and Oil Three elements of consecration. In ancient times these were regarded as the basic commodities for the support of life and constituted the wealth of the people. Today in the U.S. we think of corn as maize, but the original meaning is an edible grain or cereal. The Hebrew word for corn means "to be increased or to multiply."
Cornerstone This is usually the stone that lies at the corner of two wall of building in which certain historic documents are placed and on which historic inscriptions are engraved. In Masonic buildings, it is always placed at the northeast corner, and this position is preferred in buildings for which Masons perform the cornerstone-laying ceremony. Beautiful and meaningful symbolisms are associated with the laying of cornerstones as a dedication to the one living Great Architect of the Universe.
Cornice The ornamented slab placed above the capital of a pillar, and extending beyond it.
Cornucopia The horn of plenty; a symbol of abundance.
Covenant of Masons A covenant is a contract or agreement between two or more parties on certain terms. In becoming a Mason, a man enters into a covenant with the Fraternity, agreeing to fulfill certain promises and perform certain duties. On the other hand, the Fraternity and its members bind themselves to certain ties of friendship, brotherliness, protection support and benefits. The breaking of a covenant is subject to stated penalties.
Cowan This is strictly a Masonic term; it means an intruder, profane, pretender, 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. He is a person who may seek the secrets and benefits of Freemasonry unlawfully. The origin is unknown, but it may be early Scotch. It was used of a man who practiced Masonry, usually of the roughest character as in the building of walls, who had not been regularly trained and initiated, corresponding in some sense to "scab" as used by labor unions. If a man has learned the work by some illegal method he is a cowan. An "eavesdropper" is one who spies on a Lodge, and may be such without having learned anything about it before. A "clandestine" is one who has gone through initiation ceremonies but not in a regular Lodge.
CRAFT In Anglo-Saxon, craft meant cunning, skill, power, dexterity, etc. The word became applied to trades and occupations calling for trained skill on the part of those practicing it. The distinction between such trades and those not requiring trained workmen, so rigidly maintained, was one of the hallmarks of the Middle Ages. Freemasonry is called a Craft, partly for historical reasons, partly because, unlike so many fraternities, it requires a training (given in the form of initiation ceremonies) of those seeking its membership.
Craftsmen The term "craft" applies to persons collectively engaged in a trade or mechanical operation. It is used of operative Masons and the vast number of men employed in the building of the Temple are referred to as Craftsmen. In speculative Masonry, the entire Fraternity is spoken of as the Craft, whereas individual members are Craftsmen.
Creation Freemasonry recognizes Jehovah as God and as the Great Architect of the Universe, the creator of all things, both material and spiritual. And it accepts the account of Creation given in the Book of Genesis and confirmed by other Scriptures. To a Mason, earth and the heavens declare the Glory of God.
Cubit The sacred cubit is 36 inches; the profane cubit is 18 inches.
- D -  
D.D.G.M District Deputy Grand Master, an assistant who acts for the Grand Master in a particular district.
Dais The platform, or raised floor, in the East of the lodge where the Master sits. In the lodge, the steps to this should be three. The Senior Warden's place should be raised two steps and that of the junior Warden, one step.
Darkness Symbolizes that state of ignorance before light (knowledge) is received.
Darkness to Light Physical darkness is symbolic of ignorance and of spiritual blindness. Applicants for the enlightenment of Freemasonry are, of course, in total ignorance of the rituals and symbolisms of the Order. They are, hence, required to enter the Lodge in complete darkness. They are in search of Light, and this is given to them as they advance through the several Degrees of Masonry.
David David was the youngest son of Jesse of Bethlehem who was chosen and anointed to become the successor of Saul as King of Israel while only a lad and shepherd of his father's flocks. He served King Saul as a musician, later as a military leader of some genius, bravery, and great heroism. However, he was bitterly persecuted by the King because of his jealousies. At the age of thirty, David was anointed King at Hebron and later established his throne at Jerusalem. He reigned forty years and was permitted by God to make extensive preparations for the building of the Temple which was later erected by his son and successor, Solomon. He was forbidden by to build the Temple because he was a warrior while his son, Solomon, would be a man of peace.
Day From the beginning, the period of twenty-four hours embracing one season of light and one of darkness has been regarded as a day. Among the ancients, the day began at sunset and ended at sunset the next day instead of running from midnight to midnight.
Deacon Comes from the Greek diakonos meaning "messenger or waiting-man." Despite the fact that the bloom has been rubbed off by our slangy use of it, this is one of the most beautiful words in our language. In Greek, diakonos was a servant, a messenger, a waiting man. In the early Christian Church a deacon served at the Lord's Supper and administered alms to the poor; and the word still most frequently refers to such a church officer. It appears that the two Lodge offices of Senior and Junior Deacon were patterned on the church offices.
Deacons In every Masonic Lodge there are two officers called Senior and Junior Deacons. Their duties comprehend general surveillance over the Lodge, the introduction of visitors, and to serve as proxy for the Worshipful Master in certain circumstances.
Death The Masonic idea of death is accompanied with no gloom, because it is represented on as physical sleep for an unknown period of time, from which there will be an awakening of the body and a resurrection of a spiritual body capable and fitted for eternal life. From beginning to end, the rituals of Freemasonry teach and symbolize the doctrine of man's immortality and repudiate every iota of the doctrine of annihilation at death. In Masonic philosophy, death is the symbol of initiation completed, in which the resurrection of the body will be its final consummation.
Decalogue The Ten Commandments.
Dedicated to the memory of the Holy Saints John Dedication is a less sacred ceremony than consecration. Hence, lodges are consecrated to God, but dedicated to patrons of the Fraternity.
DEDICATION The Latin dedicatus was a participial form of dedicare, the latter having the meaning of declare, devote, proclaim - the root from which "diction" comes. To dedicate a building means by public ceremony to declare it built for some certain purpose. Dedication and consecration are closely allied in meaning, but the latter is more religious in its purposes.
DEGREE The Latin gradus from which are derived grade, gradual, graduation, etc., meant a step, or set of steps, particularly of a stair; when united with the prefix, da, meaning "down," it became degradus, and referred to steps, degrees, progress by marked stages. From this came our "degree," which is a step, or grade, in the progress of a candidate toward the consummation of his membership. Our habit of picturing the degrees as proceeding from lower to higher, like climbing a stair, is thus very close to the ancient and original meaning of the word.
Demit or Dimit A release; a resignation of membership; a paper certifying a withdrawal from a lodge (or Masonic body) when in good standing. Both spellings are used, although DIMIT is peculiar to Freemasonry only. In the U.S. some jurisdictions use the former spelling, but the majority use the latter, "Dimit."
DEPUTATION A group of words such as compute, repute, depute sprang from the Latin putare, which meant (among other things) to estimate, to think, to count among. From this came deputatus, to select, to appoint. The idea was that from a number of persons one was told off for a special duty, hence our word "deputy." A deputation is an instrument appointing some man or group of men to act for others officially. Our Deputy Grand Master is thus set apart to act in the place of the Grand Master on need, and a District Deputy Grand Master is so called because he is appointed or told off by the Grand Master to act as his personal representative in a District.
Desires Shall Fail This quotation is used in its figurative significance, referring to the fact that in the infirmities of old age men are no longer concerned about the carnal and secular things of the earth.
Destitute Lacking means, as without money or food.
Destruction of the Temple The Temple built by Solomon underwent many defamations and was several times stripped of its golden adornments and treasures, sometimes by foreign attacks and sometimes by Judean kings for payments of tribute. These were judgments sent upon the nation for apostasies. The final destruction of the Temple was the burden of many prophecies and took place as predicted by God under the onslaughts of the armies of Nebuchadnezzar (586 B.C.).
Dew of Hermon The dews of Mount Hermon, and of Palestine in general, were sources of irrigation, fertilization and refreshment for vegetation and agricultural growth. The phrase is employed as a symbolic expression of the bedewing influences of Divine Grace.
Digest Book of laws of a Grand Lodge in the U.S.; sometimes called The Code.
DISCALCEATION 'While this is not as familiar to Masons as the preceding words, it should come into more popular use because it is the technical name to describe an important element in the ceremony of initiation. Calceare was the Latin for shoe, calceatus meant shod. When united with the prefix dis, meaning apart, or asunder, our discalceate was originated, the obvious meaning of which is the removal of one's shoes, as suggested in the familiar Bible passage, "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." The ceremonial removal of the shoes is properly called the "rite of discalceation."
Dispensation Permission to do that which would be forbidden otherwise. Pendere was the Latin word for a weight, the root from which came many English words, notably pendent, expend, spend, dispense, etc. With the prefix dis, explained in the preceding paragraph, dispendere meant to weigh out, to pay off, to expend. From this came dispensatus, meaning to manage, to regulate, to distribute. In our usage a dispensation is a written instrument by which authority is made over to a group of brethren to form a Lodge.
Distress Physical or mental anguish. A brother in distress does not necessarily mean that he is without funds.
Distressed Worthy Brother To go to the aid of a distressed worthy Brother is not only the aid of every Mason, but is solemnly enjoined by Holy Writ. Masons believe and practice the Bible's edict of "we are our Brother's keeper." A brother in distress does not necessarily mean that he is without funds.
Doors Shall Be Shut The expression, "The doors shall be shut in the street when the sound of the grinding is low" refers to the decrepitude of old age.
Dotage An old man in his dotage is one whose fruit has ripened and rotted, who has suffered the loss of judgment and memory, and is in that state of intellectual decrepitude which makes him incapable of comprehending the lessons of Freemasonry; in other words, an advanced age when the mind is no longer able to comprehend clearly. This is not a very beautiful word but it is interesting. It first came into existence among the early English, Dutch, German, and Scandinavian peoples, generally in the form dotten, dutten, meaning to nod with drowsiness, to nap. Since it was old people who most frequently sat nodding in their chairs it became associated with old age. "An old man in his dotage" is one who nods or prattles like a sleepy child, and whose faculties have begun to decay through old age. Old age is never a bar to Masonic membership unless it has reached this stage.
Due East and West Moses built the Tabernacle due east and west, and this practice was carried on by the church builders. The Freemason travels from the West to the East (light) in search of a Master from whom he may gain instruction, or light,
Due Form A Masonic body is opened or closed in "due form" when performed fully according to a prescribed ritual. Distinguished from "ample form."
Due Guard A mode of recognition peculiar to Freemasons.
DUES In Latin debere meant to owe something; it is preserved in our familiar, too familiar, "debt," in debit, indebted, debenture, duty, dues, etc. Related is the French devoir, often employed in English, meaning a piece of work one is under obligation to do. The same idea appears in "duty," which means that which is due, or that which is owed, in the moral sense. Dues represent one's fixed and regular indebtedness to his Lodge which he placed himself under obligation to pay when he signed the by-laws.
Duly and Truly Prepared That the candidate is truly prepared in his heart and mind to receive further enlightenment; also, properly clothed, Masonically.
Dust to Dust (or Dust To Earth) Man's body was made from the earth and must return to dust in one form or another. The use of this phrase points to the mortality and frailty of the physical being and to the need of recognizing the immortality of the spirit of man.
- E -  
Ear, The Attentive or Listening The Hebrew word means not only to hear, but to understand and to obey.
East From the Sun worshipers down through the ages, the East has always been considered the most honored place because the sun rises in the East and is the region from which light rises.
Eavesdropper One who attempts to listen surreptitiously; literally, one standing under the eaves and thus gets only the "droppings." Early European peoples used a word in various forms - evese, obasa, opa, etc., -which meant the rim, or edge, of something, like the edge of a field; it came in time to be applied wholly to the gutter which runs along the edge of a roof. (Our "over" comes from this root.) "Dropper" had an origin among the same languages, and meant that which drips, or dribbles, like water dropping from a thawing icicle. Eavesdrop, therefore, was the water which dripped from the eaves. If a man set himself to listen through a window or keyhole to what was going on in a house he had to stand so close that the eavesdropping would fall upon him, for which reason all prying persons, seeking by secret means what they have no business to know, came to be called eavesdroppers.
Ecliptic The imaginary line followed on the earth's surface by the direct ray of the sun during the year. It niakes an angle of 23' 27' with the equator. Jerusalem is located in approximately 31' 30' north attitude, that is, approximately 7' 3' north of the ecliptic.
EDICT The root of this word is the Latin dicere, speak; united with the prefix e, meaning out, to come forth, it produced edicere, meaniiig to proclaim, to speak out with authority. It came in time to be applied to the legal pronouncements of a sovereign or ruler speaking in his own name and out of his own authority. When a Grand Master issues a certain official proclamation in his own name and out of the authority vested in his office it is an edict.
Emblem A representation of an idea by a visible object; a symbolical figure or design. This beautiful and significant word, so familiar to Masons, has historical affiliations with the original idea embodied in "mosaic work," on whch something is said below. Emblem is derived from the Greek prefix en, meaning in, united with ballein, meaning cast, put. The word became applied to raised decorations on pottery, to inlay work, tessellated and mosaic work; and since such designs were nearly always formal and symbolical in character, emblem came to mean an idea expressed by a picture or design. As Bacon put it, an emblem represents an intellectual conception in a sensible image. It belongs to that family of words of which type, symbol, figure, allegory, and metaphor are familiar members.
Emblem of Innocence Throughout the Holy Scriptures, the lamb is used as an emblem of innocence, and the white leather lambskin apron is regarded as an emblem of purity after which Masons ever strive for in life.
Emblematical Symbolical, representing.
Embroidered Having a border.
Emulation The desire to equal or surpass; ambitious rivalry.
Entered Apprentice In Operative Masonry the apprenticeship lasted seven years; if then found acceptable, the apprentice's name was entered on the books of the lodge and he was given a recognized place in the craft organization.
Equivocation The use of equivocal language, e.g., words capable of two interpretations, cryptic, evasive, ambiguous.
ESOTERIC This is the opposite of exoteric. The root of it is the Greek eso, within. It means that which is secret, in the inner circle. Exoteric is that which is outside. In Masonry the "esoteric work" is that part of the Ritual which it is illegal to publish, while the exoteric is that part which is published in the Monitor.
Eternal Life The immortality of the soul is a fundamental dogma of Freemasonry. Hence, the faith and belief in eternal life beyond the grave. The doctrine of a future resurrection of the body is also a tenet of Freemasonry.
Euclid The first mathematician to Systematize the science of geometry.
Evergreen In Masonry, the evergreen is used as a symbol of the immortality of the soul.
Examination The examination of a brother to determine his geniuses should not aim at displaying the committee's knowledge. It is a test of the visitor. He need not be able to answer questions from the Posting Lecture. He should know the signs, grips, and words.
Expulsion Forcible ejection from membership for such reasons as un-Masonic conduct, crimes, etc. It is the most severe of Masonic penalties and deprives the person of all rights and privileges formerly enjoyed from his lodge and the Fraternity as a whole.
- F -  
Faith The evidence of things not seen; confidence; trust.
Faithful Breast Symbolically, the initiate is instructed that the lessons he has received are to be treasured in his heart and remembered, and not to be forgotten; that which is told in confidence will be so held.
Faithful Servant The faithful servant is one who is diligent in his stewardship, dutiful to his master and loyal in the face of temptation and trial.
Fatherhood of Good Masonry believes that man is the offspring of God by creation, that God made mankind all of one blood and that God is, by virtue of His creation of man and of His goodness to man, man's Father.
Fealty Loyalty.
Fears Shall Be In The Way This phrase describes the failing of courage of old age, the nervous and excited state of mind natural to declining man.
FELLOW In Anglo Saxon lagu (from which we have "law") meant that which was permanently ordered, fixed, set; fe meant property; fela suggested properties set together, in other words, a partnership. From this we have "fellow," a companion, mate, partner, an equal, a peer. A man became a "fellow" in a Medieval guild or corporation when admitted a member on the same terms as all others, sharing equally in the duties, rights, and privileges. In Operative Masonry, in order to be a fellow a man had to be a Master Mason, in the sense of having passed through his apprenticeship, so that Masters were fellows and fellows were Masters. Prior to about 1740 "Fellow of the Craft" and "Master Mason" referred to the same grade or degree, but at about that year a new division in ranking was made, and "Fellow Craft" was the name given to the Second Degree in the new system, Master Mason to the Third.
Fellowcraft A craftsman no longer an apprentice who has been admitted as full member, but who has not yet reached the status of a master. The fellowcraft age represents the stage of manhood.
Fiat Lux Et Lux Fit Latin motto meaning "Let there be light, and there was light."
Fidelity Faithfulness.
First landmarks of Freemasonry Modes of recognition with no variation.
Flight to Joppa The story of Jonah's flight to Joppa in his effort to escape a Divinely-entrusted responsibility and service for God is strikingly used in Masonic ritual.
Foreign Country This expression, which is employed of the travels of Master Masons of the operative class following the completion of the Temple in search of labor and for wages, is correctly understood by few who hear it. In its symbolic meaning, it does not refer to the activities of those who have completed the Master Degree. Hence, Heaven is the "foreign country" into which Master Masons travel, where the True Word, not given in this life, is to be received, and where the Master Mason is to receive his wages.
FORM We speak of the "form of the Lodge," "due form," etc. The word is derived from the Latin forma, which meant the shape, or figure, or frame of anything; also it was used of a bench, or seat, whence the old custom of calling school benches "forms." It is the root of formal, formation, informal, and scores of other English words equally familiar. The "form of the Lodge" is its symbolical shape; a ceremony is in "due form" if it have the officially required character or framework of words and actions.
Form of a Lodge An oblong square or parallelogram, twice as long as wide. At the time of the Temple, the only known world was the Mediterranean Sea and the countries to the north, south and east, forming an oblong. Thus, the Freemason's lodge was the world itself.
Fortitude The importance and essential value of this virtue of true manhood for Masons is enforced by the use of the story of unfaltering courage and faith of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace and by Daniel's bravery in the lion's den. The key to the meaning of this magnificent word lies in its derivation from the Latin fords, meaning strong, powerful, used in the Middle Ages of a stronghold, or fort. Force, enforce, fortify, fortification, forceful, are from the same root. A man of fortitude has a character built strong like a fort, which can be neither taken by bribe nor over-thrown by assault, however strong may be the enemy, or however great may be the suffering or deprivation within. One is reminded of Luther's great hymn, "A mighty fortress is our God."
Foundation The deeply laid and solid foundation of the Temple strikingly symbolizes the necessity for a good foundation in the building of character and in life's vocations.
Fraternity A brotherhood, in which blood-bonds are replaced by a common devotion to a principle, code, or creed. This the most prized, perhaps, of all words in Masonry, harks back to the Latin frater, which is so closely allied to "brother," as already noted in the paragraph on that word. It gives us fra, frater, fraternize, and many other terms of the same import. A fraternity is a society in which the members strive to live in a brotherly concord patterned on the family relations of blood brothers, where they are worthy of the tie. To be fraternal means to treat another man as if he were a brother in the most literal sense.
Free The origin of the use of the term "free" in speculative Masonry is in the fact that the operative Masons who worked on King Solomon's Temple were exempted from imposts, duties and taxes as were their descendants. They were, therefore, declared to be "free."
Free Born A free soul; one having attained mastery of himself by self discipline. It is a misconception that this refers to one not born into slavery.
Freemasons The early builders in Operative Masonry times were free men, not serfs or bondsmen and were free to move from one place to another as their work demanded. Thus, they came to be called "Freemasons."
Furnishings of a Lodge Holy Bible, Square and Compasses, Charter or Dispensation.
- G -  
G, Letter G: The letter -G- is the Saxon representative of the Hebrew Yod and the Greek Tau; The initial letter of the name of the Eternal in those languages. It has a double meaning, representing, first, the Supreme Deity as the Great Architect of the Universe and the one true and living God of all Masons; and, secondly, the pre-eminence of the science of geometry in the rituals of Freemasonry. In this twofold symbolism, the letter "G" represents to the Mason unity of Heaven with the earth, of the Divine Being with the human, of the temporal with the eternal, and of the finite with the infinite. The letter "G" is one of the most sacred symbols in Freemasonry. The Lodge cannot open, and no work can be performed unless this sacred letter is conspicuously seen in its regularly assigned place of honor in the Lodge hall.
G.A.O.T.U.: Grand Architect of the Universe.
GAGE Gage (also spelled "gauge") has an uncertain ancestry. Early French and English peoples had gauger, gagen, etc., which referred to the measuring of wine casks; some believe our "gallon" and "gill" to have been thus derived. Its meaning became enlarged to include any kind of measuring, literally or figuratively. The instrument used to do the measuring came to be called "the gage." Among Operative Masons it was used to measure a stone for cutting to the required "twenty-four-inch gage" is such a measuring rod or stick marked off into twenty-four inches.
Gates of the Temple The Temple of Solomon had only one entrance or portal, but the walls of the enclosure had a gate at each points of the compass. Freemasonry makes special symbolic use of three of these gates, the one on the east, the one on the west, and the one on the south. These gates are symbols of the progress of the sum, rising in the east, reaching its zenith in the south, and setting in the west. They also symbolize birth, life, and death as well as youth, manhood and old age.
Gavel Derives its name from its shape-that of the gable or gavel end of a house. It is a tool used by a stonemason and resembles a hammer having a pointed end for cutting. The Working Tool gavel differs from the upright gavel, or "Hiram." (See Hiram.)
GEOMETRY It is unfortunate that for most men schoolroom drudgery has robbed this beautiful word of its poetry. The Greek geo (in compounds) was earth, land; metron was measure. The original geometer was a landmeasurer, a surveyor, but his methods became broadened and applied to many other kinds of problems, so that at last his craft became a portion of the art of mathematics. Geometry, that branch of mathematics which deals with figures in space, is associated in every Mason's mind with the immortal Euclid, who figures 50 prominently in all the ancient Masonic manuscripts. It achieved its great place in Freemasonry because of its constant and prime importance in the builders' art. Symbolically speaking geometry (to it the Letter G originally referred), consists of all those fixed principles and laws of morality and of thought to which a right char-acter and a true mind adjust themselves.
Glory and Beauty of the Day Daylight has many beauties, many advantages, and many blessings; but its supreme glory is in marvelous utterances of the goodness and glory of God.
God The Hebrew words for Beauty, Strength, and Wisdom (the supports of Freemasonry) are Gomer, Oz, and Dabar. The initials of these words compose the English name of the Deity.
Golden Bowl Be Broken This sublime and unique rule of conduct in man's relation to and treatment of his fellow man spoken by the Saviour has been adopted by Freemasons, and it is used with its full significance in all the ramifications of human actions.
GRAMMAR The Greeks had graphein, to write, or draw (from this we have graphic, engrave, etc.) ; gramma was that which was written or drawn. Grammar now refers only to the skeletonal framework of language, its parts of speech and their combinations, hut formerly it included all forms of learning based' on language, such as rhetoric and what is now taught in the schools as English; by the time our Monitor was written, however, grammar and rhetoric had become differentiated, nevertheless the Monitorial portion of the Second Degree makes it plain that a Fellow Craftis expected to be a literate man, knowing something of the arts of language in both speaking and writing. In interpreting the Second Degree this wide meaning of "grammar must be kept in mind.
GRAND Grandis in the Latin meant great, large, awesome, especially in the sense of imposing; it was afterwards applied to the aged, the ripe in experience, an application easy enough to understand when one recalls the reverence paid by the Romans to seniority, long experi-ence, etc. this latter meaning appears in our grandfather, grandmother, grandsire, etc. In English the word developed in two directions, one toward that which is great, large, awe-in-spiring, as in "grandeur," the other toward dignity, exalted power. Our own use of the term in "Grand" Lodge, "Grand" East, "Grand" Master, harks back to the latter of the two usages. The head of the Craft is called "Grand"' Master because he is its most exalted official.
Grand East The place where the Grand Lodge holds its communications and from which place the edicts are issued.
Grasshopper Shall Be A Burden This expression is a figure of the weakness accompanying old age.
Great and Sacred Name Any name that is used as a title of Deity is held sacred by Freemasons, and all names of our God are to be uttered with profound reverence and never thoughtlessly or blasphemously.
Great Lights The Holy Bible, Square and Compasses. The Bible represents the will of God, the Square is the physical life of man and the Compasses represents the moral and spiritual life.
Great Porch This was the name give to the vestibule at the entrance into the Temple of Solomon.
Great White Throne This term refers to the pure and glorious throne of God. Before it, every knee must bow and every tongue confess that Christ is God to the Glory of the Father.
GRIP Grip, grope, grab, grasp, gripe came the same roots. The Anglo Saxon gripe meant to clutch, to lay hold of, to seize, to grasp strongly. A grip means to clasp another's hand firmly; it differs from a mere hand. clasp, which may be a meaningless formality. in that it is done earnestly, and for a purpose—for what purpose in our fraternal system every Mason knows. A grip should be giver. as if one meant it; half of its meaning lies in the way it is done.
Grips Every brother following his raising should be taught to start with the grip of an Entered Apprentice Mason and go through the grips, passes, and words to the Grand Masonic Word.
Ground Floor of the Lodge Mount Moriah, the site on which Solomon's Temple was erected, is symbolically referred to as the "ground floor of the Lodge."
Guild (Gild) Masons Guttural. From the Latin guttur meaning "the throat."
Guttural From the Latin "guttur", the throat.
- H -  
H.K.T. Hiram, King of Tyre.
Harodim This was the title given to the overseers and princes appointed by Solomon to supervise the workmen in the preparation of the material and in the building of the Temple.
Healed Obligated in a degree which the Mason has not had conferred on him. To "heal" is to "make valid."
Heaven A distinctive tenet of Freemasonry is that there is a Heaven of bliss beyond the grave. The symbolic meaning of the "foreign country" in which the Master Mason seeks wages is Heaven, the higher state of man's existence after death and following the Resurrection.
Hele Pronounced "hail" and means to keep guarded, or secret. Sometimes spelled "hale."
Hemisphere Half of the earth's surface, as the western hemisphere, the northern hemisphere.
Hieroglyphics Literally the symbols in the priestly writings of the Egyptians. Generally, a symbol or sign the meaning of which is known only to the initiated.
HIGH TWELVE The Latin nonus referred to the ninth hour of the day, that is, nine hours after sunrise. In the Medieval church it referred to the middle hour between midday and sunset, that is, about three o'clock P.M. In the course ot time it came to refer to any part of the middle of the day, and finally to twelve o'clock. The origin of our "High Twelve" is uncertain, but it is probable that it goes back to a time before "noon" was generally used for twelve o'clock; the "high" doubtless refers to the sun, which at that time was at its highest point in the sky.
Hills and Valleys In ancient times, and even today, high elevations suggest the worship of God. The hilltop or mountaintop is a symbol of "Holiness unto the Lord."
Hiram An upright gavel made in the form of a maul and used by a presiding officer.
Historical According to history, verifiable, capable of documentary proof. We also speak of traditional and legendary history, meaning popular belief, not upheld by fact.
Holiness Throughout Masonic ritual, the absolute and superlative Holiness of God is recognized, and every representation of the Deity in symbols, attitudes and words must be in the most reverent manner.
Holy of Holies The ancient Tabernacle erected by Moses at Mount Sinai was divided into two compartments or rooms. At the west end was the Most Holy Place constructed of a perfect cube fifteen feet in all dimensions. It was separated from the other room, the Holy Place, by curtains. The only article of furniture in the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant which contained the Book of Law, the stone tablets on which God had written the Ten Commandments, a pot of manna and Aaron's rod that budded. The Most Holy Place was entered only by a high priest once each year on the Great Day of Atonement. Like the Tabernacle, King Solomon's Temple was divided into two compartments. The Most Holy Place was a perfect cube forty feet in all its dimensions. All the walls were overlaid with fine gold as was the floor. Again, the only article of furniture was the Ark of the Covenant.
Holy Place One of the two compartments of the Tabernacle of Moses was the Holy Place or Sanctuary at the east end of the Tabernacle. The furniture of the Holy Place consisted of the great Candlestick, the table for shewbread and the altar of incense with its censer and snuffers. In King Solomon's Temple, the Holy Place, sometimes referred to as the Greater House, followed the pattern of the Tabernacle, but was much larger. Instead of one candlestick, there were ten: five on the right side and five on the left, all made of pure gold. The Altar of Incense occupied the west end of the Sanctuary and was also made of pure gold, as was it censer.
Homage Respect, as applied to men; worship, as applied to deity.
Hoodwink A blindfold which is a symbol of secrecy; mystical darkness. "Hood" goes back to old German and Anglo Saxon, in which it referred to head covering, as in hat, hood, helmet, etc.; "wink," in the same languages, meant to close the eyes, "wench," "wince," etc., being similarly derived. A hoodwink was therefore a headdress designed to cover the eyes. The popular use of the word is believed to go back to the old sport of falconry, once so popular, in which the falcon had a hood over its eyes until ready to strike at its prey.
Hour Glass An emblem of the passage of time. Emblem of life.
House Not Made With Hands This expression comprehends the eternal dwelling place of God and the resurrected and glorified body of the redeemed in the life beyond.
Human Senses There is here the recognition of the truth that all the natural faculties and endowments of man are the products of the creative energy of God and are loving gifts from Him.
- I -  
I Am That I Am This is the English translation of the most distinctive and significant title of Jehovah God given to Moses at the burning bush. In its original Hebrew form, it was regarded with such sacredness by the Israelites that it was never spoken above a whisper. It signifies the "self-existent, independent, unsearchable One."
I.N.R.I Jesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudworum, meaning "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."
ILL. or Illustrious A title used in addressing members of the 33rd.
Illustrate Giving or showing an example.
Illustration A drawing, picture, or example.
Illustrative Showing by example or picture.
Immortality Much of the ritual in Freemasonry assumes the doctrine of man's immortality, and in many specific instances, professions of this fundamental tenet are uttered.
Indiscriminately Without distinction between.
Indwelling of God That God deigns to dwell among his people and with the hearts of the pure and the good is a fundamental truth to Masons.
Ineffable Name It is generally agreed among the Believers that the correct pronunciation of the most sacred name of God has been lost, and to this traditional fact Masons assent. In it believed, however, that the mysteries of this Ineffable Name is held by the Messiah until the Day of Resurrection.
INITIATION The Latin initium means beginning, as in our initial"; initiatus, the participle from the verb initiare, referred to any act incident to the beginning or introduction of a thing. The word came widely into use in mysteries and sacred rites, whence it has come into our 4Masonic nomenclature. Back of it, as used by us, is the picture of birth, so that the Masonic initiation means that a candidate has been born into the Masonic life, making the same kind of beginning therein that a babe makes when born into the world.
Inner Door Just as the mysteries of God's truth are available to those who earnestly knock, so admittance to the lessons of Freemasonry are opened by the proper knock at the Inner Door of the Lodge.
Innocence From time immemorial, the lamb has been regarded as an emblem of innocence. Since Masons are required to strive after perfect innocence, especially in the Masonic conduct, the apron worn by them must be made of pure white lambskin.
INSTALLATION Stallum was the Late Latin for place, or seat, or proper position, which meaning is preserved in our English "stall." To "install" therefore means that one has been placed in his seat or station—the "in" meaning here the same as in English. A Masonic installation is a ceremony by which an elected officer is officially placed in the seat to which his brethren have elected him.
Intelligible Capable of being read or understood
Interment The grave is the natural resting place for the bodies of the dead, but it is not the final abode of these bodies. We honor our dead in interment, but we await their Resurrection.
Inviolate Kept sacred or unbroken.
Iron Tools In order that perfect quiet and reverence might prevail in the building of the Temple, no iron tool of any kind was employed.
- J -  
Jachin He doth establish. Comes from two Hebrew words meaning "God will establish." Jachin is a combination of two words, Jah, the poetical name of Jehovah, and iachin, meaning establishment. The full significance of the name is, therefore, "With God's help to establish," the symbolical meaning given to in the work of Freemasonry. The two great pillars of Solomon's Temple supporting the Great Porch, known as Solomon's Porch, were called Boaz and Jachin, Jachin being the right hand pillar .
Jacob's Ladder The story of Jacob's dream or vision is which he saw a stairway leading from earth to Heaven and angels descending and ascending on it holds an important place in Masonic ritual. It is employed as a symbol of the progressive course from earth to Heaven, and of the transition from death to life.
Jah The poetical name of Jehovah.
Jesus and the Temple The parents of Jesus carried him to the Temple when he was only forty days old for purification ceremonies. At the age of twelve, he attended the Passover in Jerusalem and visited the Temple. After beginning his public ministry, he honored the Temple on a number of occasions, cleansed it twice, taught the people, performed miracles within its sacred precincts, and otherwise recognized it as the House of God, even though it was being greatly profaned
Jewels, Movable and Immovable The Movable jewels are the Rough and Perfect Ashlars and the Trestle Board and are so called because they are not confined to any particular part of the lodge whereas the Immovable jewels: the Square, Level, and Plumb, have definite locations. They are called "jewels" not because of their materials, but because of their meaning. The word "jewel" comes from the Greek meaning "bright or shining."
Judah praised. Judah, the fourth son of Jacob and the founder of the tribe bearing his name, is also the representative of a key point in ancient Masonry. Judah distinguished himself on a number of occasions and was given Messianic distinction in the tribal blessings of his father and by Moses. The royal house of Israel was of the tribe of Judah, even as was Jesus the Messiah. The tribe of Judah was the first to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land. For this reason, and because of its distinction as the tribe of David, Solomon and the Messiah, Judah represents or symbolizes the entrance of the candidate into the Light and liberty of Freemasonry.
- K -  
Keepers of the House Shall Tremble This expression is a figure of the failings of the body in old age or as weakened by the approach of death. The usual interpretation is that the arms and legs are the keepers.
Koran, The The Sacred Volume of Mohammedan Law.
- L -  
LABOR The Latin labor meant toil, work, the put-ting forth of effort; it appears to be akin to robur, or strength, preserved in our "robust." While labor and work are used interchange-ably, the latter is a more generic word, and admits of a much wider range of uses. Work may be either hard or easy but labor is always hard; work is used of all sorts of effort; labor refers generally to muscular effort, followed by fatigue. When labor is kept up unremittingly it is toil; and when toil is uninteresting, uninspiring, and poorly paid it is drudgery. When working, one's ambition is to succeed with it; when laboring, one looks forward to resting from it; hence, it is from labor that we seek refreshment, not from work.
Lamb In all ages the Lamb has been deemed an emblem of innocence. The candidate is therefore given a white lambskin apron.
Landmark In ancient times, it was customary to mark the boundaries of lands by the means of stone pillars or heaps of stones. The removal of such landmarks was a grievous crime and an evidence of fraudulent intent by the offender. In speculative Masonry there are also ancient and universal customs of the Order which gradually grew into operation as rules of action, and the same rigid rule with reference to ancient landmarks applies to these. In the early Anglo Saxon, German, or Scandinavian languages the noun "land" meant the same as in modern English, although as a verb it meant "come to land," a meaning reflected in our custom of saying a man lands from a ship, etc. "Mark" is found in almost all European languages, and derives from the Latin margo, edge, boundary, whence our margin, mark, and cognate terms. A "landmark" is some mark, line or object to indicate a boundary. The landmarks of Masonry are those principles by which the Craft is bounded, that is, marked off from all other societies and associations and with-out which it would lose its identity.
LANDMARKS Ancient and universal customs of the Order which gradually grew into operation as rules of action.
Lawful Age A man of discretion.
Lawful Information that one has tested by trial and examination, or knows that such has been done by another.
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).
Legally Constituted A Lodge working under proper authority and Charter from a Grand Lodge.
LEGEND The Greeks had legein, speak; the Latins legere, read; from these we have legend, lecture, etc. In the early Christian church the legend was the Scripture selection read in a church service; later the term became ap-plied to stories about the lives of the saints, especially to their wonders and miracles. The famous "Golden Legend," a collection of such stories, was one of the most popular books of the Middle Ages. Legend', as now used, is a story without historical foundations but told in the form of history, hence our "Legend of the Third Degree," a narrative in dramatic form that Masons have long understood to be non-historical.
Legendary According to popular belief or report, but without proof. A legend usually carries with it the idea of the miraculous.
Legible Capable of being read.
LEVEL In Latin libra was a balance, the root of our libration, equilibrium; libella was the diminutive form of the same word, and from it has come our level, an instrument by which a balance is proved, or by which may be detected the horizontal plane. It is closely as-sociated in use with the plumb, by which a line perpendicular to the horizontal is proved. The level is that on which there are no in-equalities, hence in Masonry it is correctly used' as a symbol of equality. "We meet upon the level" because Masonic rights, duties, and privileges are the same for all members with-out distinction.
Level of Equality The level in Masonry is a symbol of the fraternal equality of mankind as the offspring of God, all races and nations having been made of one blood. The fundamental principle that all men are created equal, with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is basic in Freemasonry.
Liberal Arts and Sciences Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy.
LIBERTINE Liber was the Latin for "free," as in our liberty, liberal, etc. When the Romans gave a slave his freedom he was called libertus, so that in Roman history a libertine was a freed-man. In theology a libertine came to mean one who holds loose views, a freethinker; in morality, a licenticus person, one who flouts moral laws. Whether the early Masons used "libertine" to mean a "freethinker" or a licentious man, is a point that has never been decided'; in practice, they probably used it in both senses.
Light Throughout the ritual and work of Freemasonry, Light is the symbol of knowledge, and just as God spoke into existence physical light, so He is the original source of all true knowledge. The Great Light of Masonry is His inspired work. Masons are pledged to strive after more and more Light as life goes on and should seek above all things Light Eternal. A candidate is "brought to light." "Let there be light" is the motto of the Craft. It is one of the key words of Masonry. It is very ancient, harking back to the Sanskrit ruc, meaning shine. The Greeks had luk, preserved in many English words, especially such as have leuco in their make-up, as in "leucocyte," a white blood corpuscle. The Latins had luc or lux in various forms, whence our light, lucid, luminous, illumine, lunar, lightning, etc. The word means bright, clear, shining, and is associated in its use with the sun, moon, fire, etc. By an inevitable asso-ciation the word came into metaphorical use to mean the coming of truth and knowledge into the mind. 'When a candidate ceases to be ignorant of Masonry, when through initiation the truths of Masonry have found entrance into his mind, he is said to be "enlightened" in the Masonic sense.
Light of Life The source of enlightenment and knowledge for life's darkness, perplexities and doubts, as well as for life's responsibilities and duties, is the Holy Bible -- the Great Light of Masonry.
Lily Work The lily has always been an emblem of peace. For this reason, lily work occupied a place of conspicuousness and distinction in the ornamentations of the Temple and its furniture.
Lion of the Tribe of Judah In the tribal benediction pronounced upon Judah, the "lion's whelp" is used emblematically of strength. Hence, the ensign on the banner of Judah was a lion. The phrase in the Masonic ritual, "The lion of the tribe of Judah," is Messianic and refers to Christ, the anointed of God and royal head of God's Kingdom.
Lodge Two or more Freemasons, "in regular assembly and properly opened and prepared for work or business," constitutes the Lodge. This word comes from the Old French, English and Medieval Latin, and meant gen-erally a hut, a cottage, a gallery, a covered way, etc.; our "lobby" had the same beginning. How the Operative Masons came to employ the term, and just what they meant by it, has never been determined; they had a symbolic Lodge, their building was a Lodge, the group of members was a Lodge, an as-sembly of Masons was a Lodge, and often times the whole body of Masons was called a Lodge. In our own usage the word has three technical meanings; the place where Masons meet, the assembly of the brethren duly congregated for labor, and a piece of furniture.
Lodge of the Holy Saints John of Jerusalem and Lodge of St. John Masonic tradition has it that the primitive, or mother, Lodge was held at Jerusalem and dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and then to St. John the Evangelist, and finally to both. This Lodge was therefore called "The Lodge of the Holy Saints John of Jerusalem." From this Lodge all other Lodges are supposed, figuratively, to descend.
Lost Word The lost word was the ineffable name of God, but the term is used symbolically of Divine Truth. That for which the Mason search is to discover the divine in himself and in the world that he might achieve mental satisfaction and ultimate happiness.
Low Twelve The hour of midnight; darkness is a symbol of death as well as of ignorance.
Lux E Tenebris Latin meaning "Light out of darkness."
- M -  
Making A Mason "At Sight" By a Grand Master's prerogative, some constitutional requirement is set aside-usually the ballot, and a man is made a Master Mason without waiting or instruction between degrees.
Manual Relating to the hand, from the Latin "manus", a hand.
MASON This is a word from the Middle Ages, with an uncertain origin. The old Gothic maitan meant to hew, or cut, and it is supposed the word carried that general meaning through Medieval Latin, English, German, and in the Scandinavian languages. If at first it was used only of a stone-cutter, it came later to mean a builder. Why the Operatives were called "Freemasons" is still an unsolved puzzle; the most likely view is that they were a society of builders free to move from one place to another in contrast to the gild Masons who were confined in their labors to one community. In our Fraternity a Mason is a builder of manhood and brotherhood.
Masonic Ages The age of an Entered Apprentice is said to be three years (the symbol of peace or perfect harmony); that of a Fellowcraft, five years (the symbol of active life); and that of a Master Mason, seven years (the symbol of perfection).
MASTER The Latin root mag had the general meaning of great—as in "magnitude"; it was the source of the Latin magister, head, chief, principal, the word of which "magistrate" was made. During the Middle Ages it fell into use as a conventional title applied to persons in superior rank, preserved in our own familiar "mister," always written "Mr", a colloquial form of "master." Also it came to be used' of a man who had overcome the difficulties in learning an art, thereby proving himself to be greater than his task, as when it is said of an artist who has overcome all the obstacles and difficulties of painting, "He is a master." A Master Mason is so called because be has proved himself capable of mastering the work; also because he belongs to a Degree so named.
Master Builder In the material realm, a master builder is one who is qualified in intellect and training to do constructive building of symmetrical and perfect order -- an architect, skilled worker and capable artisan. Hiram Abif (Abith), the widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali, was such a master builder. With the very best materials furnished him by King Solomon, he carried to completion an edifice of magnificence and superlative beauty and glory. In speculative Masonry, a master builder is one who is qualified in heart and mind, by skill in moral and spiritual science, and by Holy consecration to erect temples of immortal characters.
Master of the Lodge This title signifies "teacher," not Lord. The Master of the Lodge should be well informed in the mysteries, symbols, allegories and principles of Freemasonry. Masonry is a science of morals, clothed in symbols and any Brother who becomes a teacher of this science must fully understand the allegories in which it is enveloped, the symbolisms with which it is illustrated, the myths and legends of Masonry, and their mystical applications to everyday life. What the sun is by day to the world, the Master is to the Lodge.
Mercenary Motivated solely by a desire for monetary or material gain; greedy, venal.
Meridian The position of the sun at noon.
Metal Tools In ancient Israel, the use of metal tools in the actual construction of sacred altars and edifices was forbidden; hence, the preparation of all materials for the building of Solomon's Temple was done in the forests and quarries.
Money Changers These were exchange bankers who set up tables in the precincts of the Temple where they provided Jewish coins for Temple offerings in exchange for foreign moneys, charging fees for their services. Jesus drove them from the Temple, declaring that they had made the "House of Prayer a den of thieves."
MONITOR The Latin monere meant to warn; it was the root of our admonish, admonition, etc.; a monitor was the man who did the warning. The term became widely used in early school systems of the senior pupils in a class whose duty it was to instruct his juniors; from this it passed to include the book, the blackboard and other instruments used by him in his teachings. Our use of it carries this last mean-ing; the Masonic Monitor is a book for teaching a candidate the exoteric work.
Moriah A hill in Jerusalem on which the Temple of Solomon was built.
MOSAIC This word has nothing to do with Moses. Its root was the Greek mousa, a muse, sug-gesting something artistic. The same root appears in our "museum," literally a place where artistic work is exhibited. Through the Latin it came into modern languages and during the Middle Ages became narrowed down to mean a pattern formed by small pieces of inlay, a form of decorative work much in vogue during the time of the Opera-tive Masons. Our "mosaic pavement is so called because it consists of an inlay pattern, small black and white squares alternating to suggest day and night.
Mosaic Pavement Tessellated pavement or checkered floor. An inlay floor composed of black and white squares.
Mouth to Ear The method whereby the esoteric work of Freemasonry is passed on from one Mason to another, or from one Mason to the candidate who is qualified to receive such information.
MYSTERY This word is used in Masonry in two senses entirely different; indeed, though spelled and pronounced the same, they are really two words. "Mystery" in the sense of strange, unknown, weird, secret, hails from the Greek, .in which muein meant to close the e
MYSTIC In the Greek, muster was one who had been initiated. Originally, so Jane Harrison be­lieves, the root word referred to pollution; but inasmuch as the Greek mysteries had for their aim the removal of moral pollution, the word became generally associated with the mysteries themselves, and at last was used to signify a man who had gone through them. Mystic in our own use of it, as in "Mystic Tie," refers not to the mysterious in Freemasonry, or to any mysticism in it, but to the fact of our being a secret society, practicing initiaton.
Mystic Tie This phrase refers to the bond of fraternal love, to the solemn vows of eternal Masonry, irrespective of differences in race, nationality and conflicting interests. By this mystic tie, men of the most discordant opinions are united in one band, meet at one altar, even when fighting in opposing armies or affiliated with different religions. It is, indeed, an indefinable spiritual tie, spiritual tie not easily broken; fellowship among Masons and those under its influence are rightly spoken of as "Brethren of the Mystic Tie."
- N -  
Names of the Temple The Temple built by Solomon, which occupies such importance throughout the symbolisms and legends of Freemasonry, is given a number of names in the Bible: The Palace of Jehovah, The House of Sanctuary, and The House of Ages.
Naphtali my wrestling. Naphtali was the fifth son of Jacob and the founder of the tribe bearing his name. In the tribal blessing given him by his father, and confirmed by Moses, wise counsel and prosperity were to be the chief characteristics of the tribe. Naphtali represents the investiture of the lambskin apron bestowed in the West and South.
Neither Naked Nor Clothed Neither unclothed, or defenseless, nor clothed and self-sufficient.
New Name With the change in character and fortune, it is often appropriate that one be given a new name.
Nobles Members of the Mystic Shrine.
North Side In Masonic symbolism the North Side of the Lodge represents God's exalted throne.
Northeast Corner As one progresses through the rites and symbolisms of Freemasonry, receiving more and more Light, he reaches the Northeast Corner with all the outward appearances of a perfect and upright Mason, a true and tried representative of the cornerstone of a great moral and spiritual edifice.
- O -  
Oath A solemn affirmation, in the name of God, that what one testifies is true.
Obligation A promise or pledge of obedience. From time immemorial, men have entered into covenants of brotherhood and friendship under solemn oaths of fidelity and loyalty, and whenever the circumstances and purposes warranted it, secrecy has been pledged. This practice among Masons has man precedents and is based on the truths and principles set forth of the Great Light of Masonry. The Mason takes an obligation, not an oath, that he will not depart from the promises he makes. The obligation in such covenants is given in the name of God, and perjury in such obligations is subject to severe penalties. All vows voluntarily taken in Masonry must be faithfully performed and are never subject to revocation. Obligate and oblige are sister words, deriving from the same Latin root, ob, a prefix meaning before, or about; and ligare, meaning bind, as in our ligament. An obligation is a tie, or pledge, or bond' by which a man is tied to his fellows, or gives his word to perform certain duties. Accordingly we have obliging, referring to one who is willing to bind himself to do something for you, obligatory, etc. The obligation is the tie, or bond, itself; in Masonry a formal and voluntary pledge on the candidate's part by virtue of which he is accepted as a responsible member of the family of Masons.
OBLONG This has long been a puzzle word in Masonic nomenclature. How, it is asked, can a square be oblong, when a square is equal on all its sides? The answer is that in this connection "square" is used in the sense of rectangle; the angles are squared, not the sides. Oblong is derived from ob, near, or before, and longus, long; that is, it means something approximately long, so that the main axis is much longer than the others, as a slender leaf, a shaft, etc. An "oblong square is a rectangle of which two opposite sides are much longer than the other two. The Lodge symbolically is an oblong square in this sense.
Oblong Square A right angle with one side longer than the other.
Opening of the Lodge It is absolutely necessary that the Lodge be opened in due and ancient form. Without these ceremonies, the assembly is not a Masonic Lodge. This is true because the Master must be reminded of the dignity and character of himself and of his position. And the other officers must be impressed with the respect and veneration due from their sundry stations. But more important, the Fraternity in Lodge assembly and in work must maintain a reverential awe for Deity, and must look to the Great Light of Freemasonry, the Holy Bible, for guidance and instruction. Thus, in the opening of the Lodge, the Great Architect of the Universe must be worshipped, and His blessings upon the work about to be performed must be supplicated. At the same time, prayer is offered for peace and harmony in the closing of the Lodge.
OPERATIVE We distinguish Operative Masons, builders of the Middle Ages, founders of Masonry, from Spectulative Masons, present members of the Fraternity, using the builders' tools as emblems and symbols. The Latin for toil, or work, was opus, still used' in that form in English to signify a musical or literary achievement. Opus was the root of operari, to work, whence we have our operate, operative, operation, opera, operator, and many others. The Operative Mason was one who toiled at building in the plain, literal sense of the word. "Speculative" will be explained farther down.
Orally Aloud, spoken.
Oriental Chair The seat of the Master in the East; the Oriental Chair of King Solomon.
ORNAMENT Ornare was the Latin verb meaning to adorn, to equip, of which the noun was ama-men turn, trappings, embellishment, furniture, etc., from which was derived our "adorn-ment" and "ornament." In church usage "ornaments" was the name given to all the equipment used in the services of divine worship. We speak of the mosaic pavement, the indent-ed tessel, and blazing star as "ornaments of the Lodge;" whether the term was used by Lodges originally because they were considered to be adornments, or because they were part of the Lodge equipment it is impos-sible to say, though the latter alternative ap-pears to be the more likely.
Ornaments of a Lodge The Mosaic Pavement, Indented Tessel, and Blazing Star.
Ornan Name of Jebusite from whom David purchased a threshing floor in Jerusalem in which King Solomon's temple was built. This was previously the site of the alter.
- P -  
Passing the Chair The ceremony of installation of the presiding officer.
PASSWORD The Latin passus meant pace, step, track, passage; it contains the picture of a path, road, aisle, or door through which one can make his way, hence our "pass," derived from it. From it also we have our word "pace." A password is any agreed word or counter-sign that permits one to pass through an en-trance or passage otherwise closed.
Past A term applied in Masonry to an officer who has held an office for the term for which he was elected, and has then retired, as Past Master, Past Senior Grand Warden.
Peace on Earth The principles and tenets of Freemasonry and the teachings of the symbols and legends of the Fraternity are conducive to "peace on earth and good will to men." Due recognition is given to the Truth that only as the Prince of Peace reigns in the hearts and lives of men can the world ever have real peace.
Pearly Gates The splendor and beauty and glory of Solomon's Temple and of its appointments were but symbols and prophecies of the superior Temple, that house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens, with its gates of pearl.
Pectoral Belonging to the breast; from the Latin "pectus", the breast.
Pedal Belonging to the feet, from the Latin "pedes", the feet.
Pedestals The columns before the Master and Wardens of a lodge.
PENALTY It is significant that our "penal" derives from the Latin for pain, paena, the root of our penance, penalty, penitence, penitentiary. punish, primitive, pine, and a circle of similar English words. It has the meaning of pain inflicted for the purpose of correction, discipline, or protecting society, never the inflic-tion of pain for its own sake. Our own penalties are symbolical in form, their language being derived from early English forms of punishment for heresy and treason.
Perfect Ashlar Every Mason is expected to perfect or "polish" himself in building his character in order that he may become acceptable in the sight of God and be fit to take his rightful place in the finished work of Masonry.
Perfect Lodge One which contains the constitutional number of members.
Perfect Points of Entrance Symbolic action called for on entrance into a lodge.
Perfect Square A right angle with the sides equal.
Perjured Having willfully told a lie while under lawful oath or affirmation; having broken an oath.
Pharaoh The title of the ruler of ancient Egypt.
Philalethes Friends of truth.
PILLAR The Latin pila was a pile,—such as a pile under a house—a pier, a pillar, or a mole,— the last named a massive stonework enclosing a harbor. In ancient times pillars were used for all manner of religious and symbolical purposes, as when Jacob erected a pillar at a grave, or Solomon set up two great pillars— the prototype of ours—on the Porch before his Temple. (See in connection with this the notes on "column" given above.)
Pillars of Brass Important and significant features of the architecture of King Solomon's Temple were two giant bronze shafts which stood in striking relief in front of the entrance to the Great Porch at the east entrance of the Temple, one on the left and one on the right. Each was seventy feet high and twenty-four feet in circumference. They were highly ornamented by a network of brass overhung with wreaths of bronze pomegranates, each row containing one hundred. Each of these giant pillars had a chapiter at the top, ten feet in length, making the total height of each pillar eighty feet. On the top of these chapiters were great bowls for oil, called pommels, over which were hung festoon-like wreaths of pomegranates, interspersed at various points with lily work. These two great shafts were given the names Boaz and Jachin.
Pillars of Wisdom The seven great pillars of wisdom are regarded by Masons to be of superlative worth in the building of a moral and spiritual edifice.
Pitcher Be Broken at the Fountain The heart is the fountain of human life, and the great vein which carries the blood to the right ventricle is symbolically called the pitcher. When this is broken as a result of the decrepitude of old age or by human disease, death soon follows.
Planetary Pertaining to the planets.
Plumb An instrument for erecting perpendiculars. Plumbum was the Latin for lead, and was used also of a scourge with a blob of lead tied to it, of a line with a lead ball at its end for testing perpendicularity, etc., the source of our plumb, plumber, plunge, plump, plumbago, plummet, etc. A plumb-line is accordIngly a line, or cord, with a piece of lead at the bottom to pull it taut, used to test vertical walls with the line of gravity, hence, by a simple expansion of reference, an emblem of uprightness. Up means up, right means straight; an upright man is one who stands straight up and down, doesn't bend or wabble, has no crooks in him, like a good solid wall that won't cave in under pressure.
Plumbline This tool of operative Masonry used to form and regulate a perfect perpendicular in erecting walls is employed in speculative Masonry as a symbol of justice and uprightness in our deals with our fellowmen. Divine truth is the plumbline in the erection of a moral and spiritual edifice. The Working Tool of a Past Master; the perfect emblem of uprightness.
Poor Almost from the moment that a candidate for Freemasonry crosses the threshold of the Lodge, the duty of rendering aid and sustenance to those who lack in this world's necessities is urged upon him.
Porch The Great Porch of the Temple of Solomon was magnificent and expansive, and its value to the appointments and uses of the Temple was invaluable. Hence, this porch is given a distinctive recognition in the ritual and teachings of Masonry.
Pot of Incense Signifies that, of all forms of worship, it is more acceptable to God to be pure and blameless in our inner lives than anything else.
Potentate A ruler, sovereign, or monarch.
Prayer Petitions to Deity in behalf on one's own needs, intercessions for others, communion with God, and prayer in all its elements of praise and worship are fundamentals in the tenets of Freemasonry. From the time a candidate crosses the threshold of the Lodge to the topmost Degree in Masonry, the privilege and duty of prayer are urged upon him, and every step is taken in a Holy atmosphere of Divine worship.
Preparation In all the work of Freemasonry, emphasis is placed upon the importance of adequate preparation of moral, ethical and spiritual vocations. Preparation of the heart is the first essential in Masonry, and certain outward preparations symbolic of, and manifesting, inward preparedness are required.
Profane The word comes from the Latin pro meaning "before" and Janum meaning "a temple." Hence, in Masonry it means those who have not been in the Temple, that is, not initiated into the Fraternity of Craft , a non Mason. This has a technical meaning in Masonry, nevertheless it adheres closely to the original significance of the word. Fanum was the Latin for temple; pro meant "before," in the sense of "outside of." It is the picture of man standing on the outside, not permitted to enter. It has tlfis same sense in Masonry; the "profane" are those men and women who stand outside of Masonry. The word here, of course, has nothing to do with profanity in the sense of sacrilegious language.
Proficient Means not only proficient in the ritualistic work, but before the world in daily living.
Prudence Growing out of the cardinal virtues which are emphasized throughout the Degrees of Masonry is the practice of prudence by which we are instructed to regulate our conduct by the dictates of reason and in obedience to the cardinal virtues of faith, hope and love.
- Q -  
QUALIFICATION Qualify comes from the same word as quality. The root of it is the Latin qua, preserved in our "what." The quality of a thing was its whatness, the stuff of which it was made, its nature. The fy in "qualify" is from facere, to make, so that "qualify" means that a thing is made of the required stuff; and qualification means the act by which a thing is made of the required nature, or is declared to have it. The candidate for the Degrees of Masonry must possess certain characteristics in his nature; must be a man of lawful age, etc., and these are his qualifications.
QUARRY The Latin quadratum was a square; originally, quadrate and quarry meant the same. The word became applied' to the pit from which rock is hewn because the principal task of workmen therein was to cut, or square, the stones; hence, literally a quarry is a place where stone-squaring is done. In Masonry "quarry" sometimes refers to the rock pits from which Solomon's workmen hewed out the stones for his Temple; at other times it refers to the various arenas of Masonic activities, as when it is said of an active Lodge member that "he is a faithful laborer in the quarry."
- R -  
RAISE In the Anglo Saxon arisan was used of any motion up or down, but in English it became used only of an upward motion, as in arise, rising, raise, rear, etc. Raise means to hoist, or carry, or lift, a body upward in space. There is no need to explain to a Mason why it is said of a candidate who has completed the Third Degree that he has been "raised," or why the climactic ceremony in that Degree is described as "raising." One is "initiated" an Entered Apprentice, "passed" a Fellowcraft, "raised" a Master Mason.
Raised Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason refers to the final symbolic ritual of the Third Degree celebrating our faith in the Final Resurrection of our bodies, to the Divinely Revealed Truth that these vile bodies shall be fashioned into the likeness of the risen and perfected and glorified body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Refreshment Rest period symbolized by noon. Friscus, or frescus, in the Latin had the meaning of new, fresh, recent; the re meant again; so that refresh means to renew, to make over, to undo the ravages of use and time, in Shakespeare's phrase, "to knit up the raveled sleeve of care." To "pass from labor to refreshment" is to find rest and recreation so as to undo the wearing effects of toil, as when a laborer knocks off at noon to eat his lunch and have a rest.
REGULAR The Latin rex, king, sovereign, ruler, was a root from which many words have sprung, regal, royal, etc.; the Latins themselves had regula, or rule, and regere, to rule or govern. From this source has come our "regular." It means a rule established on legitimate authority. In Masonry "regular" is applied to those rules which have been established by Grand Lodges and Grand Masters. A "regular Lodge" is one that conforms to Grand Lodge requirements; a "regular Mason" is the member of such a Lodge who conforms to its laws and by-laws.
Regular Lodge One working under a charter or warrant from a legal authority.
Reprimand One of the Masonic penalties which can be and is enforced to reprove.
Resurrection From the beginning, Freemasonry has been built on two cardinal beliefs: A belief in God, and a belief in a Resurrection to a future life. This later belief assumes faith in the immortality of man in his soul or spirit life, and recognizes the need of Redemption or Salvation from sin through Divine Grace. Throughout the rituals and symbolisms of Freemasonry, and in all of its mythical teachings and legends, belief in these truths is exemplified and demanded.
Reverence for God The very nature of God, His attributes and qualities, His creation, preservation and sovereignty over man, His redemptive grace and love, even His name, demands of man a reverent attitude at all times. God, Himself, and His name which stands for his personality, supremacy, majesty and glory are always revered in the Lodge of Masons, and the same attitude toward God should characterize the personal life of every true Mason. Anything and everything that represents God to the mind of man should be held sacred.
RIGHT This, one of the noblest words in the English language, is also one of the oldest, being found in the very ancient Sanskrit in the form raj meaning rule. It appeared in Latin as rectus, meaning direct, straight, a rule,— rule being used in the sense of our ruler, a device for drawing a line which is the shortest distance between two points. Such words as regent, rail, direct, rector, rectify, rule, came from this Latin term. Right means "straight," as in a "right line," a "right angle," etc.; through a familiar metaphorical application it has come to stand for conduct in conform-ity with moral law. Our "rights" are those privileges which strict law allows to us. A "horizontal" is a right line on the level; a perpendicular" is a right line up and down, or at right angles to the horizontal. "Right" and "regular," discussed just above, origi-nally were close together in meaning.
Ritual Comes from the Latin ritualis meaning "ceremonial forms." A ritual is a system of rites. "Rite," like "right," is very old; it has been traced to the if Sanskrit riti, meaning usage, which in turn was derived from ri, meaning flow, suggesting the regular current of river. In Latin this became ritus meaning in general a custom, more particularly a religious custom, or usage. In taking over this word the church applied it to the acts in solemn religious services which had to be performed according to strict rules. In Masonry the ritual is the prescribed set of ceremonies used for the purpose of initiation. It should be noted that a set of ceremonies does not become a ritual until it has been prescribed by some official authority.
Rough Ashlar The unenlightened member; man in his natural state before being educated.
Rubbish of the Temple Hindrances in the erection of the Temple of Solomon caused by the scattered rubbish is a figure of worldly and material things of life which prevent proper moral, ethical and spiritual growth or the building of that spiritual structure of character and usefulness which is the supreme end of Freemasonry. These are to be removed with diligence and faithfulness.
- S -  
Sabbath Day Freemasonry recognizes man's constitutional requirement for one day's rest from the ordinary secular toils of life, and accepts as part of its fundamental teachings of the Divine establishment of the Sabbath Day. By legendary instructions, through symbolisms, and by precept, the privilege and duty of Sabbath observations are inculcated. The Sabbath Day is honored as an allotted period for rest and Divine Worship.
Sanctuary Holy places dedicated to the services and worship of God are a necessity for man. They are to be revered even as the name of God and utilized by man for his spiritual culture and for communion with the Most High. Moses erected a Sanctuary under the directions of God, and Holy places for worship have been perpetuated ever since. In the Bible, this name is ascribed to the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle and in the Temple.
Sanctum Sanctorum The Latin phrase referring to the Holy of Holies or innermost chamber of King Solomon's Temple where the Ark of the Covenant was kept.
Scripture Readings It is not only required that the Bible on the altar in the Lodge be spread open as a necessary preparation for opening the Lodge and during its work, but that it be opened at certain passages during the several Degrees. For the First Degree, the assigned passage is Psalms 133; for the Second, Amos, chapter 7; in some jurisdictions, 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, and for the Third, Ecclesiastes, chapter 12.
SEAL This, like our words "sign" and "insignia," is derived from the Latin sigillum, diminu-tive of signum, meaning a mark, or sign. It is some kind of device affixed to a document in place of a signature or in close connection with a signature for the purpose of showing that the document is regular or official. A document bearing the seal of a Lodge shows that it is officially issued by the Lodge, and not by some irresponsible person or persons. The word is also used of the tool by means of which the device is stamped into wax, or whatever similar material may be used for the purpose.
SECRECY From Se, apart, and cernere, separate, the Latins had secretum, suggesting something separated from other things, apart from com-mon kndwledge, hidden, covered, isolated, hence "secrecy." There is a fundamental difference between "secret" and "hidden," far whereas the latter may mean that nobody knows where a thing is, nothing can be secret e without at least one person knowing it. The secrets of Freemasonry are known to all Masons, therefore are not hidden; they are secrets only in the sense that they are not known to profanes. A similar word is "occult," which means a thing naturally secret, one, as it were, that secretes itself, so that few can know about it. See also the paragraphs on "clandestine" and "mystery" in the preceding pages. There is also another less familiar word in Masonry meaning hidden, covered up, concealed, secret; it is pronounced "hail" but is spelled "hele."
SECRETARY The present use of this word has departed widely from its original meaning. The Latin secretus meant secret, private; secretarium was a conclave, a caucus, a council behind closed doors, consequently a secretarius was some very confidential officer, and was used of a secretary in our sense, of a notary, a scribe, etc. Since the handling of correspon-dence and the keeping of records is usually a confidential service the man who does it has come to be called a secretary. The secretary of a Lodge cares for all its correspondence and its records.
Secrets Masonry's only secrets are in its methods of recognition and of symbolic instructions. Its principles and aims have never been secret.
Self Support The duty of supporting one's self and his family by individual initiative and personal labor is a universal tenet of Freemasonry.
Shibboleth An ear of corn; a test word; a watchword; slogan. A word used by followers of Jephthah to test certain of the Ephraimites who sought to escape across the Jordan after having refused to fight in the armies of Israel was Shibboleth. Because of their Ephraimite dialect, they pronounced it Sibboleth.
SIGN This comes from the Latin signum, a word which appears in a dozen or more English words, as signature, signet, signify, consign, countersign, resign, etc. Where a seal is used principally on documents and for the purpose of showing them to be official, sign is used much more variously and widely; it is some kind of gesture, device, mark, or design which indicates something, or points to something, and which often has a meaning known only to the initiated. Masonic signs are gestures that convey a meaning which only Masons understand, and which most frequently are used for purposes of recognition.
Signs, Masonic Modes of recognition often serving as a reminder of some event or pledge.
Silver Cord Or ever the silver cord be loosed is a figurative expression in the beautiful passage descriptive of the delibitations of old age or approaching death. It is thought to refer to the weakening of the spinal cord which results in the loosening of the nervous system.
Solomon peaceable. Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba, and David's successor on the throne of Israel. Though not the oldest of David's sons, he was chosen by his father to be his successor and was crowned king prior to David's death, when only about twenty-one years of age. He was solemnly charged by his father to build the Temple for which large funds had already been gathered. Solomon prayed especially for wisdom which was given to him by God above the measure of any other man in history. The league made with Hiram, King of Tyre, by his father was perpetuated, and by his assistance the Temple was carried to completion within seven and one-half years, beginning the fourth year of his reign.
Solstice The point in the ecliptic at which the sun is farthest from the equator (north in summer, south in winter).
Sons of Light During the building of King Solomon's Temple the Masons were so called.
SPECULATIVE The Latin specere meant to see, to look about; specula was a watchtower, so called because from it one could look about over a wide territory. It came to be used metaphorically of the mental habit of noting all the aspects of a subject; also, as applied to theo-retical knowledge as opposed to practical skill. "Speculative Masonry" was knowledge of the science, or theory, of building; "Operative Masonry," trained skill in putting that knowledge into practice. 'When Operative Masonry was dropped out of the Craft in the eighteenth century, only the speculative ele-ments remained and these became the basis of our present Fraternity. It is for this reason that we continue to describe it as Speculative Masonry. The word has nothing to do with philosophical speculation, or with theorizing merely for its own sake.
Speculative Masonry Freemasonry in its modern acceptance; the application of the implements of Operative masonry to a system of ethics.
Spiritual Temple Freemasonry draws many sublime lessons and deduces many worth truths from the symbolisms of the building of King Solomon's Temple, as well as from operative Masonry and architecture respecting the more important superstructure of moral, ethical and spiritual components knows as the Spiritual Temple. The building of this Temple is in vain without Divine aid. It fact, it must be build of God as the Chief Architect, and all the material that goes into it must pass His inspection and approval.
Sprig of Acacia Symbolizes the immortality of the soul.
SQUARE As noted in the paragraph on "quarry" the Latin quad ratum was a square. Quatuor meant "four;" from it we have square, four, quad, quadrangle, squadron, etc. In geometry I a square is a four-sided straight-lined figure having all its sides equal and all its angles right angles; and since early carpenters and Masons had to use an instrument for proving the angles to be right, they fell into the habit of calling that instrument a square. In Ma-sonry the square is used in at least three distinct senses; as a sharp instrument, as a working tool, and as a symbol, the last named when used with the compasses on the Holy Bible. As a symbol it refers to the earth, for so long a time supposed to be square in shape; as a working tool, it refers to all those forces by means of which one prepares himself to fit into his own proper place in the Brotherhood, like a Perfect Ashlar in a wall.
St. John the Baptist Masons honor St. John the Baptist as the forerunner of the Messiah and Saviour. The names of the Holy St. John the Baptist and the Holy St. John the Evangelist are reverently associate in significant rituals of the Masonic Fraternity.
St. John the Evangelist As a disciple of St. John the Baptist, John, a son of Zebedee and brother of James, was among the earliest to follow Jesus and to enter into full Christian discipleship. He was numbered among the Apostles and was designated as the "disciple whom Jesus loved." He was author of five of our New Testament books: the Gospel bearing his name; three Epistles; and the Revelation of Jesus Christ. In Masonic history and in rituals, St. John the Evangelist is highly honored and his memory beautifully commemorated.
Stand To and Abide By This is a unique pledge of every mason and means that he convenants himself to stand by and obey every regulation of the Order, that he will be governed at all times by its laws and rules, and that the landmarks of the Fraternity will be followed faithfully in every detail.
Stations and Places Officers are elected to stations and appointed to places.
STEWARD This came into general use through the church, in which it was adopted as the name for an important official and also for an important theological doctrine; the doctrine of stewardship. The word itself had a peculiar origin. In Anglo Saxon stigo was a sty or place in which domestic animals were kept; I weard (see "warden" on following page) was a guard, or keeper; therefore the steward was the keeper of the cattle pens. Its meaning became enlarged to include the duties of general over-seer, one who is in charge of a household or estate for another; and still more generally, one who provides for the needs for food, money, and supplies. In the history of Ma-sonry the office of steward has performed a variety of functions; the caring of funds, distribution of charity, preparing for banquets and similar services.
SUBLIME Sublimis, in Latin, referred to something high, lofty, exalted, like a city set on top of a hill, or an eagle's nest atop some lonely crag. It refers to that which is eminent, of superlative degree, moral grandeur, spiritual exaltation. Inasmuch as the Third Degree is at the top of the system of Ancient Craft Masonry, it is known as "The Sublime Degree.
Summons A notification from the Master to appear. For its neglect, because it comes directly under the province of his obligation, a member may be disciplined and/or punished.
SUMMONS Like the word monitor, explained some pages back, summons is derived from the Latin term of which the verb was monere, meaning to warn, or to remind, as in "admonish ;" the "sum" is the combining form of sub, under, or privy to, in the secret of, as in the old phrase "sub rosa." A summons is an official call sent out by persons in authority to some person acknowledging that authority to appear at some place, or to perform some duty; in other words a person who is "on the inside," who is a member, is admonished by his superiors, and must obey under penalty. The duty involved and the penalty attached distinguishes a summons from a mere invita-tion. A Lodge, Grand Lodge, or some official issues a summons; a fellow Mason not in official position makes a sign; a Mason is under obligation to respond to either, if it be due, official, or regular.
Suspension Temporary privation of power or rights, such as suspension for nonpayment of dues. One of the Masonic penalties.
Sword pointing to the Naked Heart Signifies that justice is one of the most rigorous laws and if we are unjust in our hearts, the center of our being, the inevitable result of injustice will find us out.
Symbol Signifies or represents some truth, idea or fact, but is not itself the thing it represents. It is interesting to compare this word with "emblem" with which it is so often confused. The Greek symbolon was a mark, or sign, or token, or tally; it is derived from sun, together, and ballein, put, or throw, from which we have ball, ballistics, etc
Symbol of Glory The Blazing Star in the old lectures. The star in the center represented Deity, hence, the "Symbol of Glory."
- T -  
Tabernacle This was a moveable structure build under the directions of Moses at Mount Sinai according to the pattern given to him by God in a special revelation. In its truest sense, the Tabernacle was a representation of the presence of God in the midst of Israel, and the central place for worship. This is the model Solomon used to build his Temple.
Table of Shewbread This article of furniture in the Tabernacle was a table made of acacia wood and of the ordinary make-up with legs. It was furnished with dishes, bowls, spoons and covers, all made of pure gold. Upon this table was placed twelve cakes of bread made of fine flour, in two rows of six cakes, called shewbread (also referred to shewbread). These cakes or loaves were removed every Sabbath and fresh bread supplied in their place. Only the priests were allowed to eat this removed bread. In King Solomon's Temple, instead of just one table, ten were used. They were patterned after the table of the Tabernacle, except they were made of pure gold and were much larger.
Temple King Solomon's Temple holds a place of universal and pre-eminent interest due, in great measure, to Freemasonry which has kept alive through the centuries many fascinating legends and romances, innumerable symbols and rituals, a goodly number of rites and ceremonies associated with the building of the Temple and with its history. Refer to the section in this web site entitled, King Solomon's Temple for additional information concerning the Temple. The Greeks had temenos, a sacred enclosure, a plot of ground marked off to be a holy place; the Latins had templum, a consecreated place. A temple is a building set apart because it is holy, dedicated to religious uses. It has its place in Masonry largely because of the prominence of Solomon's Temple in the Ritual. It is interesting to note that in Masonic nomenclature the ideal life, here and hereafter, is described metaphorically as a temple, one of a thousand examples of the extent to which Freemasonry is saturated with religious language and emotions.
Temple Builder The legend of the Temple builder which forms a significant feature of the Third Degree in Freemasonry and the basis of profound lectures has been an essential part of Masonic ritual and Degree work throughout the history of the Order. Its authenticity cannot be questioned nor can its importance in the rites of Freemasonry be overestimated.
Temple of the Body The symbolism of Solomon's Temple in the science of speculative Masonry, and the several rites of the Order based upon operative Masonry in the construction of the Temple, are intended to convey and inculcate great moral, ethical and spiritual truths. Among these truths is the teaching that man's body is to be made a fit Temple for the indwelling of God, and than many of the symbolisms in the building of King Solomon's Temple find their realities in human life and experience.
Ten Commandments Masons recognize and honor the Decalogue incorporated in the laws of Moses as being of Divine origin and accept them as the moral code by which all human relations with God and with mankind should be regulated.
Tenets of Freemasonry Dogmas; principles, beliefs, doctrines; teachings of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. A Tenet is something obviously true; that which is universally accepted without question.
Terrestial Belonging to the earth.
Tessellated Pavement Checkered floor of black and white, symbolic of the triumphs and the despairs throughout life.
Testimony In ancient Israel and other societies, the putting off of the shoes was a testimony of reverence for God or for an earthly superior, and as a token of confirmation in making contracts with fellowmen. The practice in certain rituals of Masonry may be traced back to this ancient custom.
Tetragrammton A Greek word signifying "four letters.' It is a name given by the Talmudists when referring to God or Jehovah.
The two great pillars of Solomon's Temple called Boaz and Jachin. Jachin is a combination of two words, Jah, a name of Jehovah, and iachin, meaning establishment. The full significance of the name is, therefore, "With God's help to establish,"
Three Chambers The upper, middle and lower chambers of King Solomon's Temple were rooms adjoining the main building fitted for quiet communication with God, as places for the preparation of priests and for storage of Temple vessels and instruments. Emblematical of youth, manhood, and age.
THREE STEPS Emblematical of youth, manhood, and age.
Tiler In operative Masonry, the workman known as the Tiler placed over the finished edifice a roof of tiles, and thus provided protection for the building. The symbolism of his work is invested in the office of Tiler (spelled Tyler in some jurisdictions) in speculative Masonry. His duty is to provide protection for the Lodge when it is organized and ready for business, closing the doors, keeping away eavesdroppers and intruders, and guarding the sacred precincts from intrusions of any kind. Also spelled "tyler." In the Latin tegere (from which came "thatch") meant cover, roof; tegulae were the tiles, pieces, slabs, used for roof-coverings. A tiler, therefore, is one who makes, or fastens on, tiles. Since in Operative Masonry the tiler was the workman who closed the building in, and hid its interior from outside view, the guardian of the entrance to the Lodge was figuratively called by this name. It was once supposed that "tiler" came from the French tailleur, a cutter, a hewer (from whence we have "tailor"), and it was accordingly spelled "tyler;" that, however, is incorrect, "tiler" being the correct spelling.
To that undiscovered country from whose bourne no travelers returns Comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet (Act III, Scene 1).
TOKEN This is from the Greek deigma.. meaning example, or proof—the origin of the word "teach," and in its orginal sense had much the same meaning as sign and symbol, for it was an ob5ect used as the sign of something else. It is generally used, however, in the sense of a pledge or of an object that proves something. In our usage a token is something that exhibits, or shows, or proves that we are Masons—the grip of recognition, for example.
Token, Masonic A sign used for recognition to prove that a man is a Mason.
Tracing Board Or emblematic chart. Emblems used to illustrate the lectures.
Traditional According to a belief handed down from generation to generation, but not supported by any sure or exact evidence. A tradition need have nothing of the miraculous in it.
Transition The passing over from one stage to another.
Traveling from West to East In Operative Masonry workmen traveled from one job to another and the word "traveling" came to signify a form of work. Hence, a Mason works his way toward the East (place of light) by improving himself as he progresses through life.
Trestle Board The carpet or board upon which the Master inscribes the designs for guidance of the Craft. In the present day it refers to the meeting notice sent to the membership.
Trials, Masonic Are held in Masonic courts of law in which testimony is heard and the accused either found innocent or guilty.
Troubles of Life Freemasonry recognizes the fact that man in his sin-fallen state is the natural heir to sufferings, frailties, weaknesses, trial and troubles; and that release and renewal of strength may be found only in God and the use of the means of Divine Grace and Providence.
Trowel The Working Toot of the Master Mason. Symbolically, to spread the cement of Brotherly Love to fit the capstone to complete the building.
Trust in God In this life, mans knows not what an hour or a day may bring forth. Paths upon which he must travel are unknown, and many unseen and unexpected dangers await him. Even when among friends, there is a constant need for Divine wisdom, sustenance, strength, aid and guidance. Hence, as the candidate crosses the threshold of the Lodge, and throughout all the ceremonies and rites of Freemasonry, he is required to "put his trust in God."
Tubal-cain Artificer in brass and iron. The first Master Craftsman, son of Lamech and Zillah. (See Genesis IV:22) a descendant of Adam through the Cainite line. Tubal-cain is regarded in Masonry as the father of skilled workmanship in artistic productions for building purposes.
Tyre City of Sidonian Empire which is only 120 miles by sea from Jerusalem. King Hiram or Tyre provided materials for the building of the Temple.
- U -  
Unity The mystic tie of true fraternalism is love. But, even where brotherly love prevails, differences of opinion, conflicting ideas, unenlightenment on the part of some, prejudices and varied interests in life endanger the spirit of genuine fellowship and unity. Hence, Masons are constantly taught to avoid "confusion among the workmen," discord, strife, jealousies and vain discussions on non-essentials; and to cultivate zealously and fervently the spirit of true unity in the Lodge and in the Fraternity.
Unmasonic Conduct Conduct of a Mason which violates the laws of the Craft and his obligation thereto.
Untempered Mortar The use of mortar not composed of the correct ingredients or in which these ingredients are improperly mixed in operative Masonry is certain to result in a weak and defective building, in a building that will soon disintegrate and tumble down. In speculative Masonry, such untempered mortar is symbolic of dishonest and fraudulent mistures in the building of character or in the construction of the institution of Freemasonry. It represents hypocrisy, the representation of evil as good, the employment of bad materials in moral, ethical and spiritual architecture.
- V -  
V.S.L. Volume of the Sacred Law.
Veil of the Temple This was the curtain or partition which separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. It served as a constant reminder to worshippers than only the High Priest, and he only once a year after having made proper atonement for his own sins and for the sins of the people, was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies. As a result of the atonement of Christ in his death on the cross, this veil was rent and destroyed, and through Him as High Priest an open door into the Heavenly Sanctuary has been prepared for all true worshippers.
Veiled Allegory Uttering a thing in parabolic form (i.e., parable) with its meaning hidden. Many of the sublimest truths of Freemasonry are thus spoken, and even those who have been given the mysteries of speculative science must delve into the caverns of Masonic mystery to gather these hidden gems of truth.
Visiting To visit a lodge outside of your "regular" lodge. Visitation is a privilege and not a right.
Visitors The laws of ancient Israel with respect to the treatment of strangers or visitors have full recognition and force among Freemasons. In fact, no Mason is allowed to regard as a stranger or visitor any Brother Mason, even though he has no acquaintance with him, and even if he may be of some other religion, country or nationality.
Void Empty.
VOUCH This harks back to the Latin vocare, to call, to summon, and is the origin of voice, vouchsafe, vocation (in the sense of a "calling"), vocal, etc. To vouch is to raise one s voice in testimony, to bear witness, to affirm, to call to witness. If we vouch for a brother we raise the voice to testify that we know him to be a regular Mason.
Vouching A brother cannot vouch for the Masonic standing of a brother unless he has sat with him in a Masonic Lodge. Knowledge of his standing or membership in a body requiring Masonic membership as a prerequisite is not grounds for avouchment.
Vows The "vows of a Mason" are the inward and spiritual covenants of the mystic ties of the Fraternity which have their outward expression in the formal obligations assumed in the several Degrees of the Order. The vows are the covenants of heart and conscience which serve as the main force of heart and character in faithfully observing the obligations verbally expressed before the altar.
- W -  
Wages Masons who built King Solomon's Temple were paid wages, but there is no Biblical reference as to the daily wage paid. The true and enlightened Mason finds his rewards in the gratifying and beneficial results of his studies, and in the fruitful products of his Masonic deeds.
Wages, A Master's Symbolizing the fruits of a man's labors in Masonic work. It is certain that the operative Masons who labored in the construction of King Solomon's Temple were paid wages, but there is no Biblical reference as to the daily wage paid. Speculative Masons perform certain labors which are moral and spiritual, and their wages or rewards are spiritual. The true and enlightened Mason finds his rewards in the gratifying and beneficial results of his studies, and in the fruitful products of his Masonic deeds.
WARDEN "Ward" is of Medieval origin, having been used in early English, French, German, etc., always in the sense of to guard something, a meaning preserved in warden, guard, guardian, wary, ware, ward, etc. A warden is guardian of the west gate of the Temple, the Junior Warden of the south gate.
Wardens Columns At the beginning of the opening ceremonies both columns are down, The Senior Warden's column is elevated down when the WM declares the Lodge open. It is lowered when the Master declares the Lodge called from labor to refreshment, or when, ill the closing ceremonies. The Junior Warden's column is elevated up, when the Lodge is at refreshment. It raised at the moment when the Master declares the Lodge at refreshment, and is lowered when he calls the Lodge to labor. The Senior Warden's column is lowered and raised at the same times.
WARRANT This also derives from the same source, and carries the general meaning of "to de-fend," "to guard." Warrant is sometimes used as a pledge of security; in Masonry it is a document officially issued to authorize the formation of a Lodge, and consequently acts as the pledge, or security, for the future activity of it.
Wayfaring Man A traveler or transient, one with no settled home, is often referred to as a wayfaring man.
White White is symbolic of purity in its various uses in Masonry.
White Stone The white stone is a token of fraternal friendship and helpfulness as well as enduring alliance.
Widows and Orphans Masons are solemnly pledged to make special provision for widows and orphans in need, especially among families of the Fraternity.
Widow's Son Masons are sometimes referred to as "sons of the widow" as this was the title applied to Hiram, chief architect of Solomon's Temple.
Winding Stairs The Temple of Solomon was equipped with an impressive winding stairway consisting of fifteen steps leading from the porch to the second floor. Elaborate and extensive symbolisms are attached to these winding stairs in the work of Freemasonry. Is one which tries a man's soul. He must approach it with faith believing that there is a top, that by a long and arduous climb he will reach a Middle Chamber. A place of light.
Wisdom of Solomon King Solomon represents the highest degree of wisdom. The East, the source of light, symbolizes the wisdom needed for success in life. The East is represented by the pillar that supports the Lodge and by the Worshipful Master.
Word The WORD symbolizes Divine Truth. The search for the Word in any sense means ultimately the search for Truth. Masonry is, in its essence, the search for Truth. The written word of God hold a pre-eminent place in all Degrees of Masonry and in all of its teachings.
WORK The idea behind this noble old word is one that has powerfully appealed to all European peoples and is found in nearly every Euro-pean language. The Greek ergon meant work, organ on. was the instrument by which work was done; from this source we have energy, organ, erg, and it appears in combination in such words as metallurgy. To work means to put forth effort in order to accomplish something; play is also a putting forth of effort, but in that case the effort is its own end, and is done for its own sake. Work has an end beyond itself. The official ritual of the Lodge is called the Standard Work; it came to be so called by analogy, the ritual of Speculative Masonry corresponding to the daily labor of the Operative Masons.
Working Tool of a Past Master The plumb line.
Worshipful Title of honor and respect as used in Worshipful Master, from the Anglo Saxon worth was something honorable, deserving of respect, a meaning that shows up in worth, the value of anything, also in worship, which is deference paid to some object or person of great importance. Worshipful describes something full of the qualities calling for such deference. It was used in Medieval times of one's parents, officers of the state, prelates, etc., signifying that such persons were of high station or entitled to deferential respect. It is so used in our term, "Worshipful Master." The term has no religious or sacred implication.
Worthy and Well Qualified That by his character and moral living, the candidate is worthy to be a member.
- X -  
- Y -  
Year, Masonic While the civil calendar reckons from the Year of our Lord and is designated A.D., the Masonic calendar dates from the year when God said, "Let there be Light," and is designated A. L.
Yod The tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
York Rite The degrees of the lodge, Chapter, Council, and Commandery.
- Z -  
Zeal Intensity of purpose and of earnestness.
Zend-Avesta The Persian Volume of the Sacred Law.
Zenith The point in heavens directly over head of the spectator; great height.
Zion The mountain or hill in Palestine on which Jerusalem was built.

Copyright (c) 2004-2015 The 37th Masonic District of the
Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania