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The Masonic Dictionary



Abif - An honorary title given to Hiram, the Tyrian builder.

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 embership; 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, required ofl Masons to attain true Brotherhood.

Active Member - One who pays of his yearly dues and who takes part in the work of the Lodge.

Adjournment - Adjournment of a Lodge is only done by the Worshipful Master.

Admonish - An admonition must be given with brotherly affection and with "mercy unrestrained."

Adoration - With Freemasons, God is worshipped in adorations which are expressed in both silent and oral prayers.

Adversity - Problems, Mason's help Brother Masons 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.

Aid of Deity - A fundamental principle of Freemasonry is asking for aid in prayer.

Alarm - Someone desires to be admitted to the Lodge Room..

Allegiance - A Mason first allegiance is to God, second to family, and last to Lodge.

Allegory - The Greeks called a place of public assembly agora; from this they built the word agoreuein, meaning speak, in the sense of addressing 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.

All-Seeing Eye - A symbol of the omnipresence and omniscience of God.

Almsgiving - Helping the poor.

Altar - A place of sacrifice or worship. Where Masons assume the oaths and obligations of the several Degrees.

Amen - In agreement, as in So mote it be.

Anchor - The symbol of mans hope of immortality and a safe landing in the haven of eternal security.

Anger - Vexation, ire or rage

Anxiety - A feeling of uneasiness.

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 - In early English, napron was used of a cloth, a tablecloth, whence our napery, napkin; it apparently was derived from the Latin mappa, 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 - The Marquis Lafayette presented George Washington with an apron at Mount Vernon that the emblems of Freemasonry had been embroidered by Madam Lafayette.

Arch, Holy Royal - The pillars which support the arch represent Wisdom and Strength; the former denoting the wisdom of the Supreme Architect of the universe.

Architecture - The Freemasons five orders of architecture are Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan and Composite.

Artificers - Skilled workmen in the building of the Temple.

Arts, Parts and Points - Arts represents the knowledge or things made known; Parts, the degrees into which Masonry is divided; and Points, the rules and usages of Masonry.

Arts and Sciences - Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy are Freemasonries arts and sciences.

Ashlar- - 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 connection 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.

Asher - Asher was the eighth sone of Jacob.

Ask, Seek, Knock - The applicant for membership in Freemasonry Asks for acceptance, Seeks for Light, and Knocks for initiation.

Atheist - 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. In as much as Masonry requires of a petitioner that he believe in God the atheist is automatically excluded from the Fraternity.

Audi, Vide, Tace - The Latin worded Masonic motto "Hear, See, Be Silent."

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Badge of a Mason - See Apron (above).

Balloting - Voting on the acceptance or rejection of a candidate. Every member is required to vote conscientiously for the good of the Lodge

Banishment - The exile of one who is unworthy.

Barefoot - The removal of one or both shoes.

Beauty - The beauty of character and the virtues of true manhood.

Beehive - A symbol of an obedient people and industry.

Benediction - A solemn invocation of Divine Blessing.

Benevolence - To do good and be charitable.

Bible - The Great Light of Freemasonry. An open Bible is 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.

Blue - Blue is the color of Freemasonry and the vault of Heaven. Blue and white are the only color ever used for decoration in a Master Mason's Lodge.

Boaz - The left-hand pillar that stood on the porch of King Solomon's Temple.

Book Of The Law - The Holy Bible.

Brass - An alloy of copper with another metal added for strength.

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 - Godly men love their neighbors and that this love should be for all mankind.

Building of the Temple - The Masonry rituals are traced directly back to the building of the king Solomon's Temple.

Burial - The interment of their dead.

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Cable Tow - A cable tow is a rope used for leading. The covenant which binds all Masons.

Cabul - Sterile, barren and displeasing.

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.

Cardinal - 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, West, South and North. for Wisdom; Strength; Beauty; and Darkness.

Cardinal Virtues - Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice.

Carnality - Fleshly appetites which are natural to humanity, but in Freemasonry men are taught self-control, temperateness, regularity, and lawfulness.

Cedars of Lebanon - Solomon used cedars of Lebanonfor in the construction of the Temple.

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 when it is made sacred. A "ceremony" may be individual, or may involve only two persons; 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.

Chambers - King Solomon's Temple was a series of chambers built on the north, south and west sides of theTemple.

Charge - Charges are given to the candidate as he advances from one Degree to another.

Charity- 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 - 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.

Circumambulation - 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 - Democratic principles, good government, freedom of conscience and civic liberty.

Clay Ground - A special clay found only in the Jordan Valley was used in casting the two great pillars, called Boaz and Jachin.

Clandestine - 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."

Clothing - 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 have pretty much fallen into disuse in American Masonry.

Column - 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.

Communication - 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.

Compasses - 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 Among Brethren - Differences of opinion.

Cornerstone - The block at the corner of two wall of a building in which often certain historic documents are placed and on which historic inscriptions are engraved.

Covenant of Masons - A covenant is a contract or agreement between two or more parties on certain terms.

Cowan - 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.p

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 - In speculative Masonry, the Fraternity is called the Craft, therefore the members are called Craftsmen.

Creation - God created the earth and the heavens.

Cubit - The sacred cubit is 36 inches; the profane cubit is 18 inches.

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Darkness to Light - The teaching of Freemasonry bring a man from darkness to light.

Day - A period of twenty-four hours. The period between sunrise and sunset.

Deacon-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.p

Death - The sleep after a person dies until the resurrection of a spiritual body.

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 - (Also spelled "dimit.") As a verb this hails from the Latin dimettere, to send away, to release, to let go; we have it in our "dismiss." To dimit from an organization is, using the official form, to resign, to relinquish one's membership. It has this meaning in Masonry.

Destruction of the Temple - The destruction of the Temple of Solomon was often prophecied and as predicted by God occured by the the armies of Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C..

Distressed Worthy Brother - Masons go to the aid of a distressed worthy Brother.

Dotage - An old man in his dotage is one whose who has suffered the loss of judgment and memory and incapable of comprehending the lessons of Freemasonry.

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.

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Eavesdropper - 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.

Edict - The root of this word is the Latin dicere, speak; united with the prefix e, meaning out, to come forth, it produced edicere, meaning 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 - 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 - The lamb is used as an emblem of innocence, and the white leather lambskin apron is regarded as an emblem of purity for Masons. 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 faith and belief in eternal life beyond the grave.

Evergreen - A symbol of the immortality of the soul.

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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.

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.

Fortitude - 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."

Fraternity- 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 - Operative Masons who worked on King Solomon's Temple were exempted from imposts, duties and taxes as were their descendants and as such declared to be "free."

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G - The letter "G", the most sacred symbol 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. It is representive of God and the science of geometry.

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 walls of the enclosure of Temple of Solomon had a gate at each points of the compass. The three gates on the east, west, and the south. These gates are symbols of the sun, rising in the east, reaching its zenith in the south, and setting in the west.

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, the supreme glory and example of the goodness and glory of God.

Golden Bowl Be Broken - The rule of conduct in man's relation to and treatment of his fellow man as spoken

Grammer - 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 Craft is 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.

Great Porch - The vestibule at the entrance into the Temple of Solomon.

Great and Sacred Name - Any name that is used as a title of Deity are sacred and all names of our God are to be uttered with profound reverence and never blasphemously.

Great White Throne - The pure and glorious throne of God. Before it, every knee must bow.

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.

Ground Floor of the Lodge - Mount Moriah, the site of Solomon's Temple is symbolically referred to as the "ground floor of the Lodge."

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Harodim - The title given to the overseers and princes appointed by Solomon to supervise the workmen preparing the material and in the building of the Temple.

Heaven - A Heaven of bliss beyond the grave. The "foreign country" in which the Master Mason seeks wages is Heaven.

Hills and Valleys - The hilltop or mountaintop is a symbol of "Holiness unto the Lord."

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.p

Holiness - The absolute and superlative Holiness of God in symbols, attitudes and words.

Hoodwink - "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.p

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

Holy Place - The east end of the Tabernacle containing the great Candlestick, the table for shewbread and the altar of incense with its censer and snuffers.

House Not Made With Hands - The eternal dwelling place of God and the resurrected bodies of the redeemed in the life beyond.

Human Senses - The natural faculties and endowments of man.

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Immortality - Man's immortality, the fundamental tenet.

Ineffable Name - It is believed that the correct pronunciation of the most sacred name of God has been lost. In it believed, however, that 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 - Those who earnestly knock to be admitted 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.

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.

Interment - The grave, the the resting place for bodies of the dead.

Iron Tools - no iron tool of any kind was employed in the building of the Temple in order that quiet and reverence might prevail.

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Jachin - He doth establish.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."

Jacob's Ladder - Jacob's vision in which he saw a stairway from earth to Heaven with angels descending and ascending.

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Keepers of the House Shall Tremble - 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.

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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.

Landmark- 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.

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 applied 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.

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 associated in use with the plumb, by which a line perpendicular to the horizontal is proved. The level is that on which there are no inequalities, hence in Masonry it is correctly used' as symbol of equality. "We meet upon the level" because Masonic rights, duties, and privileges are the same for all members without istinction.

Level of Equality - The fundamental principle that all men are created equal, with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happines.

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 - 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 is the Holy Bible -- the Great Light of Masonry.

Lily Work - An emblem of peace and purity which occupies a place of conspicuousness and distinction in the Temple and its furniture.

Lion of the Tribe of Judah - Emblematically of strength. Refers to Christ, the anointed of God and royal head of God's Kingdom.

Lodge - This word comes from the Old French, English and Medieval Latin, and meant generally 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 assembly 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.

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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.

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", 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 - An architect, a skilled worker and a capable artisan. 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.

Metal Tools - The preparation of all materials for the building of Solomon's Temple was done in the forests and quarries as the use of metal tools in the actual construction of sacred altars and edifices was forbidden.

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 meaning; the Masonic Monitor is a book for teaching a candidate the exoteric work.

Mosaic - This word has nothing to do with Moses. Its root was the Greek mousa, a muse, suggesting 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 Operative 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.

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 eyes, lips and ears; from this came musterion, a secret ceremony or doctrine, appearing in Latin as mysterium. The word mystery, thus derived, means secrecy, hiddenness, and is properly used of the esoteric elements in Masonry. But in the phrase "arts, parts and mysteries" the word is from the Latin minister­ium, having the meaning of trade, art, craft, occupation, etc., preserved in the familiar metier from the French, often used as an English word, and the much more familiar "minister," "ministry," etc.; in this sense -- the sense most often used in our Craft the "mysteries of Masonry" are its workings, just as the mysteries of Operative Masonry were its trade secrets known only to those trained and skilled in the building arts. In the latter of the two senses "mystery" and "master" (see above) are closely affiliated in origin, a master being one who has become completely skilled in mysteries.

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.

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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.

North Side - In Masonic symbolism the North Side of the Lodge represents God's exalted throne.

Northeast Corner - As one receives more light in Masonry he reaches the Northeast Corner which is representative of the cornerstone of a great moral and spiritual edifice.

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Obligation - 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 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.

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.

Ornament - Ornare was the Latin verb meaning to adorn, to equip, of which the noun was amamen turn, trappings, embellishment, furniture, etc., from which was derived our "adornment" 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 indented 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 impossible to say, though the latter alternative appears to be the more likely.

Opening of the Lodge - The Lodge must be opened in due and ancient form and the Master must be reminded of the dignity and character of himself and of his position. The other officers must be impressed with the respect and veneration due from their stations and 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. The Lodge must be opened and closed with a Prayer.

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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.

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.

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.

Pillars of Brass - The two giant bronze pillars, Boaz and Jachin were significant features of King Solomon's Temple that stood in front of the entrance to the Great Porch at the east entrance of the Temple.

Pillars of Wisdom - The seven great pillars of wisdom are regarded by Masons to be of value in the building of a moral and spiritual edifice.

Plumb - 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.

Poor - One of the tennets of Freemasonry is the duty of rendering aid and sustenance to those in need.

Porch - The Great Porch of the Temple of Solomon a distinctive recognition in the ritual and teachings of Masonry.

Prayer - A petitions to Deity in behalf on one's own needs and others, A communion with God.

Preparation - In Masonry it is the preparation of moral, ethical and spiritual vocations.

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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."

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Raise or Raised - 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.

Refreshment - 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 mem-ber of such a Lodge who conforms to its laws and by-laws.

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, originally were close together in meaning.

Ritual - 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.

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Sanctuary - Holy places dedicated to the services and worship of God.

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.

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.

Self Support - The duty to support one's self and his family by individual initiative and personal labor is a universal tenet of Freemasonry.

Shibboleth - A word used by followers of Jephthah to test certain of the Ephraimites who 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.

Solomon - peaceable - Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba, and David's successor on the throne of Israel.

Spiritual Temple - Symbolic of the building of King Solomon's Temple, for the more important superstructure of moral, ethical and spiritual components knows as the Spiritual Temple.

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 nowledge 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.

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. In Masonic history and in rituals, St. John the Evangelist is highly honored and his memory beautifully commemorated.

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.

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.

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 - 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.

Symbol - 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, togeth-er, and ballein, put, or throw, from which we have ball, ballistics, etc. Symbolon indicated two things put together, thrown together, or matched together. If, for example, the numeral 9 is matched to a pile of marbles, one to one, the 9 is a symbol of the number of marbles. From this came the custom of calling a symbol some object, device, design, picture, etc., used not for its own sake, but for the purpose of referring to some other, and per-haps very different, thing with which it has been associated. It is any visible, audible, or tangible object used to typify some idea, or truth, or quality, as when a wedding ring is made the symbol of marriage, the square is made the symbol of the earth, or the cross is made the symbol of Christianity, the crescent of Mohammedanism, etc.

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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 - In Freemasonry the legend of the Temple builder forms a significant part of the Third Degree.

Temple of the Body - In Masonry we are taught that man's body is to be made a fit Temple for the indwelling of God.

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.

Tiler/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.

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 object 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.

Trust in God - As a 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."

Unity - 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.

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Veiled Allegory - A thing spoken like a parable, with hidden meaning .

Veil of the Temple - A curtain or partition which separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place in the temple.

Visitors - 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.

Vows - 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. 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.

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Wages - Wage, of which wages is the collective plural, remotely descended from the Latin vas, having the meaning of pledge, security, pawn, or a promise to pay backed up by security. After it entered into modem languages it had a peculiar history; it became "gage," a pledge or pawn, appearing in our engage, disengage, etc., but having no relation with gage, one of our Working Tools; "wager" in the sense of a bet; in another context it became "wed," the act of marrying, so called because of the pledges given; and "wage" in the sense of compensation for service given. An "allowance" is a one-sided form of payment, depending on the will of the giver; a "stipend" is a fixed sum, usually nominal, and is supposed to be paid as per a permanent arrangement; a "salary" (from sal, or salt, the old pay given soldiers) is an amount fixed by contract, and estimated over a relatively long period of time, year or month; "wages" are paid to laborers over short periods of time, or at the completion of the required task. In Speculative Masonry the Master Mason symbolically receives "wages," rather than salary, because they represent the rewards that come to him as rapidly as he does his work; and, as the etymology of the word suggests, they are certain, something one may bank on.

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.

Warrant - This also derives from the same source, and carries the general meaning of "to defend," "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.

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.

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.

Widows and Orphans - Masons are solemnly pledged to make special provision for widows and orphans in need, especially among families of the Fraternity.

Winding Stairs - The Temple of Solomon had a winding stairway consisting of fifteen steps leading from the porch to the second floor. These are symbols in the work of Freemasonry.

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.

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.

Worshipful - The Anglo Saxon weorth 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."

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Masonic Abbreviations

The information in this chart was prepared by Paul M. Bessel,
Executive Secretary of the Masonic Leadership Center.

A&AR Ancient & Accepted Rite (Scottish Rite)
AAONMS Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriners)
AASR Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite or Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite (without the &)
AEAONMS Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order, Nobles Mystic Shrine (Prince Hall Shriners)
AEOS Ancient Egyptian Order of Sciots
AF&AM Ancient Free & Accepted Masons
AFHR American Federation of Human Rights (Co-Masonry)
AFM Ancient Free Masons (South Carolina)
AGL Assistant Grand Lecturer
AGSW Assistant Grand Superintendant of Workings (Australia)
ALR American Lodge of Research (New York)
AMD Allied Masonic Degrees
AQC Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (transactions of English research lodge)
AYM Ancient York Masons
Bro Brother
CBCS Chevaliers Biefaisants de La City Sainte (Holy Order of Knights Beneficient of the Holy City)
CH or COH Captain of the Host (Royal Arch)
Comp Companion (Royal Arch and Cryptic Rite, or Royal and Select Masters)
CWLR Civil War Lodge of Research (chartered in Virginia)
DC Director of Ceremonies
DDGL District Deputy Grand Lecturer
DDGM District Deputy Grand Master
DEO District Education Officer
DGCHAP Deputy Grand Chaplain
DGDC Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies
DGIW Deputy Grand Inspector of Workings (Work)
DGM Deputy Grand Master
DGZ Deputy Grand Zerubbabel (First Grand Principal)
DH Droit Humain (Co-Masonry)
DIW District Instructor of Work
EA Entered Apprentice
EC Excellent Companion (Royal Arch) or Excellent Chief (Knight Masons) or English Constitution or Eminent Commander
EHP Excellent High Priest (Royal Arch)
EO Education Officer
F&AM Free & Accepted Masons
FAAM Free And Accepted Masons
FC Fellowcraft or Fellow Craft
FPOF Five Points of Fellowship
FPS Fellow of the Philalethes Society or Fellow of the Phylaxis Society or Fellow of Phyllis Chapter
GAOTU Great Architect of the Universe
GC Grand Chief (Knight Masons)
GCR Grand College of Rites
GHP Grand High Priest (Royal Arch)
GJD Grand Junior Deacon
GJS Grand Junior Steward
GJW Grand Junior Warden
GK Grand King (Royal Arch)
GL Grand Lodge or Grand Lecturer
GLF or GLoF or GLdF Grand Lodge of France
GLFB Feminine Grand Lodge of Belgium (Grande Loge Feminine de Belgique)
GLFF Feminine Grand Lodge of France
GLNF National Grand Lodge of France (Grand Loge Nationale Francais)
GM Grand Master
GOF Grand Orient of France
GS or GSec Grand Secretary (or GS could be Grand Scribe)
GSD Grand Senior Deacon
GSS Grand Senior Steward
GSW Grand Senior Warden or Grand Superintendant of Workings (Australia)
GWMNM or GWM George Washington Masonic National Memorial (located in Alexandria, Virginia)
HA Hiram Abif or Abiff
HP High Priest (Royal Arch)
HRA Holy Royal Arch
HRAKTP Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests
HTWSSTKS abbreviation used in Royal Arch Masonry to describe someone in the Royal Arch ritual
IGH Inspector General Honorary (33rd degree)
IM Illustrious Master (Cryptic Rite, or Royal and Select Masters)
IOJD International Order of Jobs Daughters
IORG International Order of the Rainbow for Girls
IPR Initiation, Passing, and Raising
JD Junior Deacon
JGD Junior Grand Deacon
JGS Junior Grand Steward
JGW Junior Grand Warden
JMC Junior Master of Ceremonies
JS Junior Steward
JW Junior Warden
K King (Royal Arch)
KCCH Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (Scottish Rite)
KM Knight Mason or Knight Masons
KT Knights Templar
KTP Knight Templar Priest
KYCH Knight of the York Cross of Honor
LDH Le Droit Humain (Co-Masonry)
LEO Lodge Education Officer
LIW Lodge Instructor of Work
M&M Memphis & Misraim
MasEd Masonic Education or Masonic Education Yahoo Group on the Internet
MBBFMN Masonic Brotherhood of the Blue Forget Me Not (recognition of those involved in Masonic education)
MC Master of Ceremonies
MCL Middle Chamber Lecture
ME Most Excellent (Royal Arch)
MEC Most Excellent Companion (Royal Arch)
MEGHP Most Excellent Grand High Priest (Royal Arch)
MEM Most Excellent Master (Royal Arch)
MIC Masonic Information Center (related to MSA - Masonic Service Association)
MIGM Most Illustrious Grand Master (Cryptic Rite)
MLC Masonic Leadership Center
MLMA Masonic Library & Museum Association
MM Master Mason or Mark Master
Mon Monarch (Grotto)
MOS Moment of Silence
MOVPER Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm (Grotto)
MPS Member of the Philalethes Society or Member of the Phylaxis Society or Member of Phyllis Chapter
MSA Masonic Service Association
MSANA Masonic Service Association of North America
MSRICF Masonic Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis
MW Most Worshipful
MWA Masters and Wardens Association
MWB Most Worshipful Brother
MWGL Most Worshipful Grand Lodge
MWGM Most Worshipful Grand Master
NCRL Northern California Research Lodge
NECOMELI Northeast Conference on Masonic Education & Libraries
NMJ Northern Masonic Jurisdiction (Scottish Rite)
OES Order of the Eastern Star
PAGSW Past Assistant Grand Superintendant of Workings (Australia)
PDDGL Past District Deputy Grand Lecturer
PDDGM Past District Deputy Grand Master
PGBHQ Past Grand Bethel Honored Queen (Job's Daughters)
PGHP Past Grand High Priest (Royal Arch)
PGM Past Grand Master
PGSW Past Grand Superintendant of Workings (Australia)
PHA Prince Hall Affiliated
PHO Prince Hall Origin (National Compact) - NOT the same as PHA
PHQ Past Honored Queen (Job's Daughters)
PIM Past Illustrious Master (Cryptic Rite)
PM Past Master
PMA Past Masters Association
Pot Potentate (Shrine)
POTS Parting on the Square (sometimes used in place of "sincerely" in email messages from one Mason to another)
PS Principal Sojourner (Royal Arch)
PSOC Philalethes Society listserv (email group)
PW Password
RA Royal Arch
RAC Royal Arch Captain
RAM Royal Arch Mason or Masonry or Royal Ark Mariner
RE Right Excellent (Royal Arch) or Rite Emuulation (Emulation Rite)
REAA Rite Ecossais Ancien et Accepte - (Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite)
Rec Recorder
REC Right Excellent Companion (Royal Arch)
RER Rite Ecossais Rectifie (Scottish Rectified Rite)
RF Rite Français (French Rite)
ROS Royal Order of Scotland
RW Right Worshipful
RWB Right Worshipful Brother
S Scribe (Royal Arch)
S&C Square and Compasses (or Compass)
S&F Sincerely & Fraternally
SBF Society of Blue Friars (association of Masonic authors)
SC Scottish Constitution
SCRL Southern California Research Lodge
SD Senior Deacon
SEM Super Excellent Master (Cryptic Rite)
SGC Sovereign Grand Commander (Scottish Rite)
SGD Senior Grand Deacon
SGIG Sovereign Grand Inspector General (Scottish Rite)
SGS Senior Grand Steward
SGW Senior Grand Warden
SJ Southern Jurisdiction (Scottish Rite)
SK Sir Knight (Commandery and Knight Masons)
SMC Senior Master of Ceremonies
SOF (Masonic email group)
SRICF Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (now called MSRICF - Masonic Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis)
SRJ Scottish Rite Journal
SRRS Scottish Rite Research Society
SS Senior Steward
STC Supreme Tall Cedar
SW Senior Warden
TCF Tres Cher Frere (Very Dear Brother)
TIM Thrice Illustrious Master (Royal and Select Masters)
QC Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, London (research lodge - see AQC)
UD Under Dispensation
UGLE United Grand Lodge of England
UGLQ United Grand Lodge of Queensland (Australia)
VSL Volume of Sacred Law
VW Very Worshipful
WB Worshipful Brother
WM Worshipful Master
WMA Worshipful Masters Association

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