Masonic Glossary
Alphabetical Order of Keywords
A  B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

500 words and expressions
Please note: The following vocabulary may vary somewhat according to the country and Obediences.


Absence -
 Attendance is the first duty of a Freemason. Even if he is unable to attend the meeting, he has to warn the Worshipful of his absence and explain his reasons. His apology would be accompanied by a mite.

Acacias - As an evergreen plant, this tree presents an uninterrupted appearance of “youth and vigor”. It is also the symbol of the Immortality of the Soul and is a symbol of great value linked to the Legend of Hiram.

Accepted - A title which, applied to Freemasons, is equivalent to the term "initiated." It alludes to the acceptance into our society, by operative Masons, of those who were not operatives. An Accepted Mason is one who has been adopted into the order, and received the Light of our society.

Acclamation - A certain form of words, ritual interjection. In the Scottish Rite it is Huzza ; in French, Vivat ; in the Rite of Misraim, Hallelujah and in the York, it is So Mote It Be .

To act out - Ways that the Obediences use to present Freemasonry to the general public. Currently, on the Internet, Freemasons can browse Websites which are intended for them. We can find most of Grand Lodges, of French and foreign Obediences. A profane, before entering in Freemasonry, often asks indiscreet questions to the Freemason with whom he is in contact. The Freemason has to express himself exercising the greatest discretion and must not unveil any Masonic secret.

Activity (Mason in) - The opposite is Dormancy. 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 Order.  One who fails to do these things may remain a Mason in heart, but deprives himself of the benefits of membership.

Admission – The process of joining a Lodge. Admission in a Masonic Lodge is most often practiced in three stages: acceptance of the application – investigation/interview to determine the candidate’s suitability – finally, the Lodge is balloted before he can be accepted. Not more than five candidates can be reviewed at one time except in urgent cases, when a dispensation may be granted by the Grand Master, and no applicant can receive more than two degrees on the same day. To the last rule there can be no exception.

Admonish - to caution, advise, or counsel against ; to express warning or disapproval ; to give friendly, earnest advice and encouragement.

Adoption - Two different meanings are found: adoption of a child by a Masonic Lodge and also used as the name given to the "Female Freemasonry". 

Adoptive Lodge - The organizations established for the initiation of females were given by the French the name of "masonnerie d'adoption” and the lodges are called “loges d'adoption” or "adoptive lodges," because every female lodge is obliged to be adopted by, and under the guardianship of some regular Masonic Lodges.

Affiliation - .The act of admitting a Mason into a different Lodge, other than the one he was initiated in. An “affiliated mason” is a Mason who is a member of a lodge, is called this way to distinguish him from a "demitted" or "unaffiliated" Mason, who is not a member of any lodge.

Agape (Agapae) – Type of communal meal or Festive Board, banquet. Only initiated Freemasons participate at the Ritual Agape. The White Agapes are the ceremonial feasts to which profanes may also be invited.

Age - Way of Masonic recognition. The symbolic age depends on the Degree. Asking a Mason’s age is equivalent to requesting his Grade.

Alms - At the end of each meeting or session, the Brothers deposit their mite/donation in the Widow’s Trunk/ Alms-Box.

Alms-Box (Widow’s Trunk) - Money box circulating at the end of the work (meetings or sessions) to collect the tributes of the Brothers and intended for beneficences.

Almoner - Officer of the Lodge, sometimes responsible for collecting the donations made to the Widow’s Trunk/Alms-Box. He is also the Lodge’s social worker. He visits sick Brothers to pass them on the Brotherhood’s blessings.

Alpha - The sky/heaven, the abyss. ALPHA and OMEGA: First and last Greek letters of the alphabet. Mostly symbolizes 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 of Oaths- Table or pedestal, undoubtedly the most important piece of furniture in the Lodge, where the Book of the Sacred Law, the Square and the Compass are held. The candidate bows in front of the altar, in prayer; symbolically, he offers up to God the incense of praise, lays on the altar the passions of his heart, and dedicates to God and to the service of Freemasonry his affections and faculties. The presence of the altar in the center of the Lodge room serves as a constant reminder of the religious character and purpose of all Masonic rites and ceremonies.

Anderson - James Anderson, D. D., the compiler of the famous English Book of Constitutions, better know as “Anderson’s Constitutions of 1723”. Anderson’s Constitution is the basis of Modern Freemasonry and its foundation of operation.

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

Apprentice - First Degree of the Masonic ladder, symbolizing “birth”. One becomes an Apprentice Freemason after the Initiation.The candidate in a state of darkness is brought into the lodge not knowing what will follow but trusting the Masters to lead him along the way in his quest for light. An "Entered Apprentice" is one whose name has been entered in the books of the Lodge.

Apprenticeship - The training period of a Mason. Once the Initiation is done, the Mason is being guided to a clearer understanding of the tenets of his new profession, up until he is promoted to Fellow Craft. Usually, the time period corresponds to at least one year or to a certain number of presences at the Meetings.

Approbation - approval, commendation, or praise ; a formal or official act of approval.

Apron- Personal property known as "the badge of a Mason."  As he advances in Masonry he will receive aprons of various types, but never one that equals his first one, given as a gift from the Master to the Apprentice. By the whiteness of the color and the innocence of the animal from which it is obtained ,it is admonished to preserve that blameless purity of life, which will allow the Mason to present himself before The Great Architect of the Universe, unstained by sin and unsullied by vice.

Arch of Steel - The grand honours are conferred, in the French Rite, by two ranks of Brethren elevating and crossing their drawn swords.

Architect - this term appears in the name of some Degrees, sometimes used in various contexts (Great Architect of the Universe).

Architecture - an important aspect in the origins and symbolism of Freemasonry.

Areopagus - Philosophical Council of 30th Degree Scottish Rite. Also, the 19th to 29th Degrees make up what is known as the Degrees of Areopagus.

Artificer - a skilled or artistic worker or craftsman; one who makes beautiful objects.

Ashlar – an unpolished stone. There are two types: a "rough ashlar," and a "perfect ashlar." An Apprentice is a rough ashlar, symbolizing the man in his natural state--ignorant, uncultivated and vicious, whereas a Master Mason is a perfect ashlar, once the education has exerted its wholesome influence in expanding his intellect, restraining his passions, and purifying his life

Attendance - Attendance is the first duty of a Freemason. . Any absence must be justified. Also, once they get clothed before entering the meeting, they need to sign in the Attendance Register.

Attendance Register- When entering the Temple, each Brother or visitor must sign in this journal.

Auspices - This term indicates the Lodge’s recognition by a national Masonic organ. All regular Lodges must work under the Grand Orient’s or Grand Lodge’s auspices.

Avenue - The avenues are the immediate vicinity of the Temple. Forming an avenue is a ceremony sometimes practiced in the lower degrees, but more generally in the higher ones, on certain occasions of paying honors to superior officers. The Brethren form in two ranks facing each other. If the degree is one in which swords are used, these are drawn and elevated, being crossed each with the opposite sword- The swords thus crossed constitute what is called the arch of steel. The person, to whom honor is to be paid, passes between the opposite ranks and under the arch of steel.

Axe - This tool appears on the table of the Apprentice and Fellow Craft’s Lodges. Its cutting edge rests against the upper corner of the cubic tipped ashlar. Craftsmen could tell a workman's origin by his use of a stone axe.


Bade – told ; ordered ; requested ; directed.

Bag of propositions - .At the end of the meeting, the Master of Ceremony circulates a bag/box, in which any Brother can leave his notes, remarks or ideas, remaining anonymous if desired.

Ballot - A type of voting, election of candidates, when lodges use a box, usually divided into two compartments, for white and black balls. A candidate, against whom two or more black balls have been cast, can’t be balloted for in the same or any other lodge within twelve months from the time of such rejection.

Ballot Balls - Black and white balls are used to express agreement or rejection of a proposal, mostly for accepting a candidate. The term “blackballing” originated from balloting.

Baluster - Minutes from High Grades’ meetings.

Banner – Part of incomparable decorum highlighting the personality of the Lodge, mostly used back in the XIXth century. Most often the name of the Lodge, its obedience, the date of its creation and its Orient are mentioned on the banner.

Banquet - These Masonic feasts are frequently practiced, with the purpose of enjoying the Masonic fellowship. Most Masonic banquets are ritual and follow specific regulations, but sometimes, friends and families are also invited, so the fraternity is being promoted.

Barrel - Bottle or carafe. It is better known as “Masonic Flask”. Were common at Lodge meetings, in America during the period 1810 to 1830.

Bible - Used as the Volume of Sacred Law for most Lodge meetings.

Beating Gavel – Grand Honours operated by the Lights of the Lodge. A given number of blows by the gavels of the officers is given in sign of admiration or reverence.

Beneficent - doing or producing good.

Beverage- Vase containing the drink given to the candidate during the First Grade Trials.

Black (colour) – Symbol of Terrestrial Light/Light of the Earth

Blazing Star - Fundamental symbol of Second Degree and several other Degrees. 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 -The first three Grades of Freemasonry are often called “Blue Masonry”, “Blue Lodges” or “Symbolic Lodges”.

Blue Lodge or Symbolic Lodge - Lodges working the First Three Masonic Degrees. Known as “Craft Lodge” among English Lodges.

Board - Term deriving from "Trestle-Board"- a design board for the Master Workman (Architect) to draw his plans and designs upon to give the workmen an outline of the work to be performed. In Speculative Masonry, it refers to the minutes of the Lodge’s meeting.

Boaz - the name of the left or north pillar at the Temple’s entrance.  It signifies "Strength”.

Bourne boundaries ; limits.

Book – Often used as “Book of Law”. The Freemasons take an Oath on books: Bible, Quran, and others.

Book of Architecture - Usually found in the archives and registries kept by the Secretary, containing drawings of the Lodge’s work.

Boxwood - Boxwood is a compact, hard wood, sound. It is used in the manufacture of gavels used by the Worshipful and Wardens. Boxwood is in the world of plants what the iron is in the world of metals.

Brazen - made of brass.

Bread - The bread is found in the Masonic Chamber of Reflection, as it was and always will be present in the Rites. It is the food that allows us to get the work done.

Brick - Piece of one Franc.

Brief - Diploma of Masons from High Grades.

Brotherhood - Third key term of the Masonic motto. It is the basic concept of any initiatory society. All the Brothers must support and protect their brethren unless they have broken the law. It should not be done unwillingly because that would be in opposition to the universal principle of Freemasonry.

Brothers - Term used by the Masons between them.

Brute - creation animals at their birth ; anything non-human in its infancy.


Cabal - See “Kabbalah”.

Cable’s Length - a maritime unit of length; about 100 fathoms, or 600 feet.

Cable-Tow - a rope used in Masonry to symbolically bind ; originally a particularly strong rope.

C\G\O\ - College of Grand Officers, executive organ.

Calendar - See Masonic Year – Boards of the Lodge’s monthly work.

Candidate - Proposed profane for Initiation.

Candle - The candle is a symbol of Fire and Light.

Candlestick - Frequently used during ceremonies; the number of its branches varies depending on the circumstances of the meeting or its place. The golden candlestick which was mad e by Moses for the service of the tabernacle, and was afterward deposited in the holy place of the temple to throw light upon the Altar of Incense, and the Table of Shewbread, was made wholly of pure gold, and had seven branches; Its seven branches are explained in the Ineffable Degrees as symbolizing the seven planets.

Candor - freedom from bias, prejudice, or malice ; fairness ; impartiality.

Cane - Symbol of great meaning, used by the Master of Ceremonies. Sometimes referred to as “Walking Stick”

Cannon - Table term: Glass. At this point, it is used during Masonic banquets with the same meaning, as in the common vocabulary.

Capital - the uppermost part of a column.

Capitation - annual membership fee to the Masonic Lodge.

Cardinal - of basic importance ; main ; primary ; essential ; principal.

Catechism - Masonic training that allows passing to the next Degree.

Cedar - The importance of Cedars in Lebanon was immense.  The Ark of the Covenant for the Tabernacle was made of cedar and King Solomon used exclusively cedar timbers in the building of the Temple. One should only use the best wood, when building the most beautiful Temple in history. It’s a symbol of eternity.

Celestial Dome - Ceiling of the Masonic Temple, reproducing the sky during the day of the summer solstice. Allegorically it represents the construction of the unfinished Temple or recalls that works of the inner Temple are never complete.

Celestial or Eternal Orient - Term indicating that a Mason died. It is said that he "is passed to the celestial Orient" or "is passed to the eternal Orient"

Cement – Table Term: pepper.

Chain - refers to hindering and connecting.

Chain of Union - At the end of every Meeting, the Brothers form a chain holding hands. This chain ideally speaks to all humanity and is found symbolized by the Knotted Cord that runs around Temple walls.

Chair - the seat of the Worshipful Master. It’s also called “Chair of Solomon” or “Chair of Hiram Abiff”

Chamber – a meeting place for all Masons of the same Grade. Ex: Apprentices’ Chamber, Fellow Crafts and the Middle Chamber.

Chamber of Reflection - a small darkened room adjoining the Lodge room. It is a somber place of meditation and reflection for candidates for Initiation into Freemasonry, and is sometimes used in Higher Degrees.

Chamber of the Lost Steps or Mosaic square – area in front of the Temple.

Chain Collar - An accessory that varies in colour or textile according to the Lodge or the Degree, to which sometimes a jewel can be attached.

Worshipful Master Collar – Usually embroidered with a square jewel.

Chapter - Bodies within the Scottish Rite, mostly known as The Chapter of Rose-Croix, from the 15th to the 18th Degree. The members of this chapter are called Knights.

Chapiter - an alternate, and earlier, form of the word capital.

Charter - a document setting forth a set of granted rights and privileges given by the Grand Lodge to the constituent Lodge (Constitution).  The Master is its custodian, and must see to its security at all times.

Chisel - As a symbol in Masonry it morally demonstrates the advantages of discipline and education. Just as the brilliance of the diamond is revealed by the skillful use of the chisel, so will the beauties of the human mind be revealed through knowledge. Chisel + Gavel = Wisdom. The Chisel symbolizes reasoning, intelligence, discernment. 

Circle - One of the many geometric figures with symbolic meaning, specifically used in the 3rd Degree. Symbol of eternity, the universe.

Circumambulation or Tawaf (Islamic) - the technical name of the ceremony in which the candidate walks around the Lodge.

Circulation - During the Lodge meetings, the Freemasons must move “with force and rigour”, according to the ritual, starting left foot or right foot according to the Rite’s practices.  We must not forget that the Masonic Rites gain from "solar inspiration", therefore the circulation must be in the clockwise direction (from the West, by the North, to East) (from the East, by the South, to the West).

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

Circumspection - looking around ; carefulness in considering all circumstances and possible consequences.

Clad - covered or clothed.

Clandestine - not recognized by the Lodge.

Claw - a handshake practiced between members of the 3rd Degree. It refers to the gestures given and words spoken upon the discovery of Hiram's body. It is the fifth and final point of the Master's Grip.

Cleaves - comes apart from ; separates into distinct parts; divides; to part or split specially along a natural line or division.

Closing - See Closure

Closed White Meetings - Temple Meetings during which one profane can make a statement/lecture, but no other profanes are allowed.

Closure - the end of the Lodge’s work, always at midnight.

Coffin - The coffin is an important part of the 3rd Degree’s symbolism. It is mostly linked to Hiram’s death, reminding Masons that everyone shall eventually die and turn to dust, but also a hope for spiritual immortality.

Collar - Cord. Emblem that distinguishes the functions of the officers in the Lodge.

Columns - In Masonry the symbolic significance of the pillars is to support the lodge: Wisdom, Strength and Beauty.  At the entrance of the Temple, two columns are placed on the right and left, distinguished by the letters J and B. They are surmounted by three Pomegranates, seven rows of chains and a globe. Used as “raise the columns or shoot them”, it represents the opening and closing of the Lodge’s work. The term column is also used to indicate places in the Lodge: the Column of the North, for the apprentices and the Column of the South where the Fellow Craft are. The Masters, according to their choice, may go to the right or left.

Compass - Masonic symbol representing spirituality, the endless pursuit of spiritual understanding.  The Square and Compass are valued symbols in masonry, constantly reminding our Brothers of the balance required between the earthly and spiritual nature of man. It symbolizes the man’s journey through life to eternal hereafter.

Composite - one of the Five Orders of Architecture developed late in the Roman period as an enriched version of the Corinthian that combines the Corinthian and Ionic styles.

Conflagration - fire, especially a large, disastrous fire.

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

Council - Within the York Rite, Masons meet as a Council, which is same as a Masonic Lodge; it has officers and a ritual degree system, consisting of three degrees: Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent Master 

Conclusions (of the Orator) - When a Brother wishes to offer a predetermined motion or matter for discussion/vote, he must advise the Master beforehand. It is always the conclusions of the Orator that the Worshipful puts to the vote and not the question itself. This practice varies according to the status of the meeting.

Conduce - to lead or tend to a particular and desirable result.

Congress - The most important Obediences cover several regions or provinces. The representatives of these regions’ Lodges, Members, Worshipful Masters, Grand Masters, sometimes gather in Congress.

Consecration - The first meeting of a new Lodge is called “Consecration of Lights”.

Consent (Conclusion) - Approval of a proposal, without a vote, simply done by a body sign. This gesture of the right hand is a sign of approval. Usually it’s the Orator who suggests the approval.

Consistory - are called the 31st and 32nd Degrees in the Scottish Rite. They attempt to illustrate the creation of the ideal balance between the spiritual and the temporal.

To Constitute - To form, to open a Lodge.

Constitutions - Regulations gained from the former duties of operative Masons; the Constitutions drawn up by Pastor Anderson in 1723, is considered the basis of modern Freemasonry.

Contemplate - to look at attentively and thoughtfully ; to consider carefully.

Colours - a fundamental element of Masonic symbolism. (White = purity) (Red = blood, feelings, passion) (Blue = sky, spirit, thought) (Yellow = knowledge, intuition) (Green= hope). A hidden colour is missing from Catechism. Black, which symbolizes the fault, ignorance, but also the Earth, gravity and sobriety; It is every Brothers obligation to know and understand the significance of colours.

Contributions, Membership fees - See Capitation.

Contrive - to devise ; to plan ; to invent or build in an artistic or ingenious manner.

Convent - Annual meeting of Masons from different Lodges, discussing common concerns and thoughts.

Cord/Cordon - Ribbon encasing the torso from shoulder to the opposite hip, it varies according to the rites and Degrees.

Corinthian - one of the three classical (Greek) orders of architecture the most ornamented of the three. Originated in the city of Corinth in Greece.

Corinthian Column - Beauty is represented in a Masonic lodge by the Corinthian Column, most beautiful of the ancient orders of architecture.

Corporeal - having, consisting, or relating to a physical material body ; not intangible.

Cross - The cross is one of the oldest and most used symbols. There are twelve known types of crosses in Freemasonry. (1) Egyptian, 2) Greek, 3) Latin, 4) Passion, 5) Tau, 6) Patriarchal, 7) Swastika, 8) Maltese, 9) Teutonic, 10) Pontifical or of Salem, 11) Templar, 12) Saint Andrew’s.

Crossbones – The symbol of the Skull and Crossbones is a reminder of our mortality and the rebirth to spiritual life. Also, the transformation of the vile, made of lead, profane into fine gold.

Cubit - an ancient unit of linear measure, approximately 18 inches in today’s measure.

Cup of Bitterness - Vase containing the drink given to the candidate during the First Grade trials. At a certain point the candidate is made to drink a sweet liquid, which after a moment turns bitter, the lesson being that he should always remember that  sorrow in life often follows happiness, he should never be too exuberant in good times and not fall into depression during hard ones.


Dagger - Table Term = Knife.

Dagger or Straight Sword - a sword with a copper handle in form of a cross and a flat double-edged blade. The daggers are used by the Masons in various circumstances. Forming an avenue is a ceremony sometimes practiced with swords, these are drawn and elevated, and being crossed each with the opposite sword. The swords thus crossed constitute what is called the Arch of Steel. The daggers have a dual symbolic significance. Before 1789, it symbolized equality. All the Brothers were entitled to wear the dagger, but only Noblemen and Officers wore it in town. Today, they symbolize the Royal Fight that every Mason must support tirelessly for justice and verity.

Deacons - two officers who are called the Senior and Junior Deacons, appointed by the Master.

Death - If death is an absolute end to a profane, it is completely different to a Freemason. Masonry presents death to its neophytes as the gate or entrance to eternal existence. Teaching the doctrine about immortality is the great object of the Third Degree during the Initiation- he dies in profane life so he can be reborn in a sacred life. 

Debhir - It is the Holy of Holies of the Temple of Solomon, which contained the sacred Ark of the Covenant, it is considered the inmost sanctuary of the Masonic Temple in the Third Degree.

To Decorate - term of politeness used in meetings to talk about the Masons who populate the columns in the Orient. Is used in saying “who are the ornaments of it”.

Degree -Masonic Grade assigned during Initiation and other Passages.

Delta - Delta Radiating - A triangle. The name of a piece of furniture in the Eastern part of the Temple, above the Worshipful, which, being of a triangular form, derives its name from the Greek letter ~. Delta. . The triangle is the emblem of the Divine Providence watching over the Lodge: the open eye of wisdom, which sees and provides. 

Depressed - underneath; lower than its surroundings.

Deputy - Delegate who represents the Lodge at the regional and national levels. Some officer positions may have a Deputy (Apprentice, Fellow Craft or Master), except the Worshipful and the Wardens.

Deputy Grand Master - The assistant and, in his absence, the representative of the Grand Master.

Dignitaries - The Master, the Wardens, the Orator, and the Secretary in a French Lodge are called dignitaries. The corresponding officers in the Grand Orient are called Grand Dignitaries. In English and American Masonic language the term is usually restricted to high officers of the Grand Lodge.

Dimit - a document, bearing the seal of a lodge and attested to by the Secretary, terminating membership.

Directing Committee - Governing organ of the Lodge composed of the Worshipful, the Deputy Grand Master, the First and the Second Warden.

Discerning - showing insight and understanding ; excellent judgment.

Discharge - Discharge is the document delivered by the Treasurer. It permits to prove the settlement of the capitation. Discharge can be requested by a Brother who wants to visit a Lodge (unknown visitor), from Brother Tiler at the mosaic square of the Temple. Without the up to date discharge, a Brother visitor cannot enter any Temple on the entire surface of the Globe.

Dispersed – scattered ; spread widely.

Distinctive name - This is the name taken by a Lodge at its inception. The distinctive name is followed by a number of the order.

Diurnal - recurring every day ; having a daily cycle.

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

Dogma - Liberal Freemasonry is adogmatic, meaning that it imposes no religious or philosophical dogma to its followers. Freemasonry is above any religions and philosophies.

Dormancy - A Brother or a Lodge in dormancy means that they temporarily cease their activity.

Door - The Temple’s door, placed between the two columns is a particularly meaningful symbol. For his initiation, the candidate enters the Temple through the Low Door.

Doric - Strength is symbolized in Freemasonry by the Doric Column, because, of all the orders of architecture, it is the most massive.

Dotage - a decline of mental faculties associated with old age ; a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and alertness.

Drawing - Report of the Lodge’s work.

To Dress - To put on ornaments and Masonic emblems of one's Grade. It is also called “to decorate".

Due - proper ; according to accepted standards or procedures.


Earth - Earth is the element which, fertilized by water, fallen from the sky and lit by the rays of the Sun, filtered by the air, can generate life.

Ebony - Gavels of the Worshipful and of the two Wardens are sometimes painted black, to look like ebony.

Edifice - a building, especially one of imposing appearance or size.

Egregore - Term borrowed from the biblical vocabulary, pointing to the collective soul of the Lodge.

Election - Officers of a Lodge are elected by the Masters for a year.

Elements - As in many ancient Initiations, the candidate is cleaned by the four elements, Earth, Air, Water and Fire.

Elemosinaire - See Almoner.

Eligibility - Every candidate for initiation into the mysteries of Freemasonry must be qualified by certain essential conditions. These qualifications are of two kinds, Internal and External. The Master Masons, who once were Wardens, are considered eligible to the Worshipful.

Emblem - Distinguishing ornament of Grades. It is the apron and not the cord which constitutes the true emblem of the Mason. For the Entered Apprentice: an apron of plain white lambskin, square at bottom, and without ornament; for the Fellow Crafts: an apron of plain white lambskin, similar to that of the Entered Apprentices, with the addition of two sky-blue rosettes at the bottom; for the Masters: apron of silk, with sky-blue lining and edging and an additional rosette on the fall or flap, and silver tassels.

Emerald - Emerald is the stone of secret knowledge, sometimes good, sometimes bad. For the alchemists, it is the stone of Hermes, allowing the light to spread on the darkness.

Emulation - ambitious rivalry ; ambition or desire to equal or excel others in achievement.

Engrave - to cut figures or letters into wood or metal.

Ephraimites - members of one of the 12 tribes of Israel, descended from Ephraim, one of the sons of Jacob.

Equality - Second term of the Masonic motto, the Masonic Level being the symbol of equality.

Equivocation - to avoid committing oneself to what one says ; uncertainty ; uncertain or questioning disposition of mind.

EssayDue to its origins, Freemasonry is a magnification of the work. In French, the title is Morceau d'Architecture. The French so call a discourse, poem, or other production on the subject of Freemasonry. It is the oral presentation of a work, a speech, and a presentation on a Masonic subject. It is also called a Board, a paper, a Masonic Essays.

Esotericism - The secret portion of Masonry which is hidden in emblems, symbols, allegories, legends, and other forms of mystery, and are wholly apart from monitorial teachings. Esotericism aims at clearing the man of the limits of the human condition, to make effective the ability that he received to access to upper states, thanks to rigorous and precise rituals, though in an active and sustainable manner. Corresponds to the material world: the body of the man, to the psychic world: his soul and the spiritual world: his mind!

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

Excuses - If a Mason does not attend a meeting, he is required to provide some excuses, so the Master is informed of its causes.

Exemption - An exemption can be obtained, with the consent of the Supreme Council.

Exoterism - Antonym of esotericism = public education.

Expert - Officer in charge to educate profane people on the occasion of their Initiation.

Eye (in the Delta) - The Sun, from which Life and Light emanate.


Family Banquet - a type of White Banquet, where families of Masons are invited as well.

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

Fellow Craft - Second Degree in the Masonic hierarchy.

Female Mason – A "Masonry of the Ladies” also called”Adoption" quickly appeared in the XVIIIth century. These Adoptive Lodges were replaced in early XIXth with an exclusively female Masonry in the middle of the XXth century. Mixed gender Masonry appears at the end of the XIXth century.

Fiat - an authoritative decree, sanction, or order ; a command or act of will that creates something without, or as if without, further effort ; an arbitrary decree or order.

Fire - Table term= Cheers. To fire – to drink with a toast. 

Fine - Penalty that a Lodge may impose on one of its members who deviated from the Masonic laws. It is perceived by the Worshipful and delivered to the Almoner who deposes it to the Widow’s Trunk/Alms-Box.

Flames (passing by the) - One of the Trials of the Masonic Initiation according to ancient customs (rituals). During the third journey, the Brothers walked quickly around the candidate, circling him with flames, three times. This iconic event reproduced purification by fire of the ancient initiations. It is still practiced today, in another form.

Flat Stone - It is the sum collected by the Almoner, which fuels the Alms-Box. For example, a flat stone of 120 kilos means €120.

Five - Among the Pythagoreans five was a mystical number, because it was formed by the union of the first even number and the first odd, rejecting unity; and hence it symbolized the mixed conditions of order and disorder, happiness and misfortune, life and death. It is the nuptial number, symbol of the marriage of Earth and Heaven. It is the number of balance, harmony.

Five perfect points - During initiation into the Master Mason Degree, the candidate first receives the Real Grip of a Master Mason, along with instructions of how it is properly communicated/ done. The Worshipful Master, or a lawful designee, reaches down and takes the hand of the candidate, by this grip he "raises" him from the dead to the position known as the Five Points of Fellowship.

Flag - Table term = Towel.

Flaming Sword - A sword whose blade is of a spiral or twisted form is called by the heralds a flaming sword, from its resemblance to the ascending curvature of a flame of fire. It represents the symbol of Initiation power of the Worshipful. It is used during Initiations and passages to higher degrees.

Fleur de Lis - a white flower. It represents innocence, virginity and the good. Its perfume is said to be aphrodisiac. Fleur-de-Lis could therefore mean, because of its duality, the controlled sexuality, stripped of any defect, the natural creation, fertility and token of immortality. Sometimes it is also related to symbolizing justice.

Fraternal - Non-ritual assembly of Freemasons from different Obediences but who share common concerns: professional, geographical and so on.

Fraternal Embrace - Series of three kisses, given by the Worshipful, the Senior or Junior Wardens. In principle: the first two on the cheeks and the third on the forehead.

Fraternal Intercourse - activities that promote fraternalism in constituent lodges or Masonic youth orders and which are not prohibited by this code.

Fraternal Kiss - See: Fraternal Embrace.

Freemason - One who has been initiated into the mysteries of Freemasonry.

Freemasonry- Synonym of Masonry. System of morality, by the practice of which, its members may advance their spiritual interest, and mount by the theological ladder, from the Lodge on Earth to the Lodge in Heaven.

Formal Secretary - Officer in charge of the administrative part of a Lodge.

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

Four - The Four has the same symbolism as the square, the cube, or the cross. As a symbol, it illustrates the real, the solid, the created, but also the fullness and the universality.


G - The letter “G” is placed in the centre of the Blazing Star. It appears in the 2nd Grade and is one of the major symbols of this Grade. G = Geometry or Gnosis.

G\A\O\T\U\ - Grand Architect of the Universe.

Gamma - The four elements: Air, Water, Earth and Fire.

Gauge - working tool of the Entered Apprentice. The twenty-four inch gauge is used in operative masonry to measure and lay out the work, but speculative Masons are taught to use it for the more noble and glorious purpose of dividing their time. Being divided into twenty-four equal parts it is emblematic of the twenty-four hours of the day, whereby are found eight hours for the service of God, eight for one's usual vocations, and eight for refreshment and sleep.

Gavel - The common gavel is one of the working tools of an Entered Apprentice. Adopted as a symbol in Speculative Freemasonry, to admonish us of the duty of divesting our minds and consciences of all the vices and impurities of life. The gavel of the Master is also called a Hiram, because, like that architect, it governs the Craft and keeps order in the Lodge, as he did in the Temple. The Three Lights hold one, during the work in the Temple.

Gematria - A system of letter-number substitution used for philosophical interpretation, most commonly associated with traditional Jewish mysticism known as Kabbala and ancient Greek divination and occultism. It originated in the ancient world when many cultures used letters of
their alphabets to represent numbers. The advent of the Arabic numeral system made this practice obsolete for practical purposes. The mystical interpretation of words and names, however, became known as Gematria and survived in various esoteric traditions.

Geometry - One of the most important liberal arts in Freemasonry, from which Freemasonry has collected many symbols.

Gloves - White Gloves must be worn in Lodges. They may mean honour and Masonic purity.

Globe - In the Second Degree, the two columns are topped by globes, one representing the terrestrial sphere, the other celestial sphere.

Gnosis - It is the knowledge of reality. It is infinite because the Spirit has no limit.

Godfather - Member of a Lodge presenting a candidate; He undertakes, in honour bound, to follow him up till his Mastery.

Grade - Masonic step. The passage to a higher Grade implies a widened knowledge of the Masonic principles. All the rites are divided into Grades.

Grand - Prefix which precedes the functions of the Lodge’s officers. Ex. Grand Secretary, Grand Senior Warden, and so on.

Grand Honours or Battery -   Form of Masonic applause during or at the end of the Lodge’s Meeting It is the method of showing respect to certain Grand Lodge officers or to honor special guests/visitors. 

Grand Master - The highest occupation in a Masonic national organization.

Grand Orient - national Masonic organization running, in principle, several rites.

Grand Lodge - this term has two meanings:  a General Assembly of Freemasons, held every year in Switzerland, and also, governing body that supervises and governs the individual Lodges of Freemasons in any particular geographical area or jurisdiction.

Grand Priory - The Chapter General or Grand Priory, may unite two or more Priories into a Commandery, to be governed by a Provincial Commander, who is elected by the Chapter General, within the RSR (Rectified Scottish Rite).

Grand Architect of the Universe - (GAOTU). Creative principle which cannot be identified with any religion.  The Lodge meetings shall always be opened and closed with the invocation and in the name of the Grand Architect of the Universe, and Lodges shall insert in a space in their announcements, documents, the inscription A. L. G. D. G. A. D. l'U (A\G\O\T\G\A\O\T\U\) these being the initials of the French words meaning, To The Glory of The Grand Architect of The Universe.

Grip - Manual sign of recognition among Masons. It varies depending on the Grades. The symbolic Freemasonic grip is to handle the right hand of a Brother and to press firmly your Brothers hand, in accordance with the rhythm of the Battery of the Rank.

Guttural - of, or having to do with, or involving the throat.


Hail, Hele, Hale - to hide or conceal ; to cover ; to keep out of view.

Hecatomb - 100 oxen or cattle (in ancient Greece a public sacrifice of 100 oxen to the gods in thanks for some great discovery, event, or victory).

Hexagram - a six pointed star, formed by the intersection of two equilateral triangles. The interlacing triangles or deltas symbolize the union of the two principles or forces, the active and passive, male and female, pervading the universe. The two triangles, one white and the other black, interlacing, typify the mingling of apparent opposites in nature, darkness and light, error and truth, ignorance and wisdom, evil and good, throughout human life.

High Grades - Grades higher than the Third Degree. Several systems of High Grades exist within different rites: French, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

Hiram - Architect of the Temple of Solomon, in Jerusalem, who was assassinated. The word Abif is also used as an appellative, surname, or title of honour and distinction in Grades bestowed upon the builder of the Temple.

Homage - respect or reverence paid or rendered ; expression of high regard.

Hoodwink - a type of blindfold used in Masonic rituals of initiation, symbolizing the prejudices and the darkness, of the candidate, which disappear when the blindfold is removed and he receives the Light. The removal of the blindfold embodies the initiatory shock that the Initiated must experience. Is also a symbol of the secrecy and silence, in which the mysteries of Masonic art should be preserved from profanes.

Hoodwinked - blindfolded.

Hourglass - Symbol in the Chamber of Reflection, an emblem of the passage of time, of human life.

House Not Made With Hands - that which lies beyond death ; heaven ; the world of spiritual truth (II Corinthians 5 : 1).


Illumination (of the Temple) - Enlightenment is the ritual lighting of the Lights of the Temple.

Illustrious - A title commonly used in addressing Brethren of the 33rd Degree in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

Imbrue – stain ; soak ; drench.

Immemorial - extending or existing since beyond the reach of memory.

Impart - to give ; to communicate knowledge of something ; to make known ; tell ; relate.

Indite - to write down ; to put down in writing.

In Good Standing - when dues are current.

Initiatic - of, or relating to, initiation ; possessing a sacred traditional character.

Initiation - the Freemasons have adopted the word to signify a reception, ritual ceremony into their Order. It is sometimes specially applied to a reception into the First Degree, but he who has been made an Apprentice, is more correctly said to be Entered.

Initiated - The one who passed Initiation. Synonym of Mason.

Injunction - an order or requirement placed upon someone by a superior.

Installation (of officers) - A Masonic installation is a ceremony by which an elected officer is officially placed in the seat to which his brethren have elected him, assuming his functions. 

Institution - Synonym of Masonry.

Instruction (of a Grade) - Each Grade has words, signs, and specific ritual questions.

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

Inundation - to overflow with water ; a flood.

Invest - to give ; to furnish ; to clothe.

Inviolate - not broken or disregarded ; not told to others ; respected.

Ionic – the pillar of Wisdom, distinguished for the skill in its construction. The basis of an Ionic column is formed by a plinth, two scoties (semi-oval mouldings) between nets, separated by two coupled rods and a torus.

Irregular Lodge - An "irregular lodge" is a lodge that does have a charter from a Grand Lodge, but its Grand Lodge is not recognized by other Grand Lodges.


Jewel (ornament) - More or less precious metal which clings to the apron or the collar. It is generally the jewel of the Lodge, which is handed to the new Brother when he was admitted. It is a symbol of the obligation to attend Lodge meetings.

Journey - Every Freemason, when he is initiated into the Craft, is taught to consider human life as a journey.  He would faint with fatigue, lose himself in unknown roads, or fall over high precipices if he was not supported, faithfully conducted, and fraternally warned.  By these means he arrives in safety at the end of his journey, and is permitted to receive Light, that he may be able to support, lead, and warn others when traveling the same road.

Judicious - having, exercising, or characterized by sound judgment ; discrete ; wise.

Junior Warden - Officer responsible for the training of Apprentices and sometimes has a particular responsibility of ensuring that visiting Masons are in possession of the necessary credentials.


Kabbalah - It is an intellectual and symbolic approach which means finding Light in a sacred message. The Bible isn’t just about what profanes see in it, for us it is the hidden source of an esoteric knowledge. The word Kabbalah, which means “reception”, is also often linked to tradition. The tradition of what we get from the ancestors.

Kadosh - The name of a very important Degree in many of the Masonic Rites. The word is Hebrew, and signifies holy or consecrated, and is thus intended to denote the elevated character of the Degree and the sublimity of the truths which distinguish it and its possessors from the other Degrees

Knot - See Rope. 


Labyrinth - The labyrinth is an important figure of the builders, seen in several cathedrals. Journeys of the 1st Degree rely on this symbolism.

Ladder - The symbolism of the ladder appears at 30th Degree Knight Kadosh. A symbol of progressive advancement from a lower to a higher sphere, which is common to Freemasonry and many, if not all, of the Ancient Mysteries. In each, generally, as in Freemasonry, the number of steps was seven.

Landmarks - 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. It sometimes refers to the rules laid down by the United Grand Lodge of England, outside of which any Mason and any obedience are considered as irregular. In the Alpina (Grand Lodge of Switzerland) the word "landmarks" is not mentioned in the general principles.

Lead - In the Chamber of Reflection there are the bones, the skull, and the scythe. They make reference to death and the hourglass refers to the time, to the God Saturn, and therefore to the lead. The lead is a vile metal, solar grey metal, a symbol of knowledge and glory. The lead indicates here that an alchemical transformation will be operated in the heart of the Earth, a transmutation; the profane will die in the greyness of profane world to find the golden initiatory Light world.

Leave of absence - Is regularly requested by a Freemason and often granted by the Worshipful Master, not to attend the Lodge’s work during a period of time. This leave does not exempt from the payment of membership fees (contributions), except under specific circumstances.  It is useful to recall that there is no voluntary dormancy. Also, there is no such sentence like: “I put myself in/to dormancy”

Lemniscate - Another name for the Tassel with a special knot. In the English and French Tracing Boards of the First Degree, there are four tassels, one at each angle, which are attached to a cord that surrounds a tracing-board, and which constitutes the true tessellated border. These four cords are described as referring to the four cardinal virtues: Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice. More often symbolizes the Chain of Union and Infinity (See Tassel).

Level - the Senior Warden’s jewel. The Level is the emblem of equality, symbolizing that all Masons meet on the level, without regard to social, political or religious beliefs.

Lever - Symbolic tool primarily used in the Second Degree.

Light - a symbol of knowledge.  It is in fact the first of all the symbols presented to the Initiate, and continues to be presented to him in various forms throughout his Masonic career. (Profanes are in darkness). The Light is given once the hoodwink, which covers the eyes of the recipient, is removed and so his initiation is completed.

Lights - First installation of a Lodge.

Lodge - In Masonic 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 from Above - When a Mason dies, it is of common belief that the Great Architect of the Universe called our Brother to the Celestial Grand Lodge on High

Lodge of Perfection - The first portion of the Scottish Rite system of degrees is called The Lodge of Perfection. This series of degrees includes the 4th through to the 14th and are referred to as the ineffable degrees. 

To Load - Table term: fill one's glass. “To load the Cannons”: to arrange the glasses in the same line before a toast. In general, we align them on the Blue Ribbon that goes around the table, which is in form of a n Horseshoe.

Table Lodge - Banquet.

Lost Word - is the genuine secret of a Master Mason said to be lost with the death of Hiram Abif

Louveteau - Son of Freemason or minor adopted by a Lodge. The adoption of a Louveteau binds all the members of the Lodge to watch over his education, and subsequently to aid him, if it be necessary, in establishing himself in life. (Fallen into disuse).

Luminaries - The first five officers in a French Lodge, namely, the Master, two Wardens, Orator, and Secretary, are called Luminaires or Luminaries, sources of light, because it is by them that light is dispensed to the Lodge. Also, the Sun and the Moon are the two Lights framing Delta placed in the Orient.


Manual - having to do with, or involving, the hands.

Masonic Alphabet - Kind of cryptography which is formerly used by Freemasons, in their correspondence, in order to avoid profanes from understanding. (Fallen into disuse).

Masonic Association - a group of Masons with common employment or profession and with a membership of not less than 25 Master Masons of this jurisdiction ; in good standing.

Masonic Clothing - white aprons.

Masonic Era (Year) - See: Masonic Year.

Masonic Formation - the process of experiencing the initiatic tradition, becoming a part of it, and improving oneself through its lessons. An ever-continuing process of spiritual and intellectual formation that all Freemasons must continuously undergo. It is a constant transformation through the use of Masonic symbols, rituals, and teachings on a journey of return to the center of our being.

Masonic Hour - Conventional symbolic time adopted for opening and closing the Lodge’s work. Noon for the opening and midnight for closing.

Masonic Intercourse - any communication involving the esoteric or secret portion of the Ritual. 23

Masonic Justice - A legend, carefully maintained by anti-Masonic authors, relates that the Masonic Justice overrides profane Justice. It is wrong. Masonic Justice only takes into account conflicts between Masons, between a Mason and his Lodge or Grand Lodge, between two lodges. Masonic Justice relies on the General regulations and the inside regulations of Lodges. It has a role of conciliation. It can, when this is necessary, impose sanctions ranging from temporary dormancy to removal.

Masonic Light - Fundamental symbol of Masonic initiation; a Lodge gives Light to the neophyte during the initiation ceremony.

Masonic Organizations - any group, chapter, order, club, association, or organization requiring Masonic affiliation as a prerequisite to membership, except Masonic lodges.

Masonic Regalia - aprons, jewels, implements, and hats appropriate to one’s station or office.

Masonic Year - Anno Lucis, the Year of Light, is the epoch used in Masonic documents of the Symbolic Degrees.  Between the creation of the world, according to sacred chronology, and the advent of Christ, 4000 years intervene; thus A. L. 2001 added to 4000 gives the Masonic year, 6001.  The Masonic era commences with the creation of the world (Anno Mundi), or Masonically expressed, (Anno Lucis), year of light or year of the Lodge.

Master - Third and final Grade of symbolic Masonry (Blue). It’s the Grade required for access to the Rites of Perfection (S\R\R / A\A\S\R).

Master of Banquets - The officer responsible for the organization of the Agapes. He composes the menu and arranges the tables.

Master of Ceremonies - Officer whose primary duty is to prepare candidates prior to each of the Three Degrees. They also help conduct the candidates during the degree conferrals. In some jurisdictions, the Masters of Ceremony are responsible for answering alarms at the preparing room, examination room or outer doors.

Master Jewel - It is the jewel of the Master in Blue Masonry. Jewels are suspended from a white ribbon by way of collar. It is an emblem representing the mandatory attendance of Lodge’s meetings.

Mastic - Table Term = Food. (Outdated).

Mastication/To masticate - To eat. During the Agape, every Mason must respect certain etiquette, when it comes to eating and chewing. It must be very elegant in the presence of visitors, and especially in the presence of profanes.

Materials - The dishes, the supplies.

Meeting - Ritual meeting/gathering at the Temple.

Mercury - Symbol of the boldness and vigilance. Feminine principle. In Hermetic philosophy, they pretend to solve and explain all the phenomena of nature from the three chemical principles: salt, sulphur, and mercury.

Metals - Gold, silver, copper, shaped or in the form of money. It invites the candidate to appear naked and poor, in order to control his passions, especially the one of possession, of power, of vanity.

Midnight - Time at which the Lodge’s work stops.

Mirror - Located in the Chamber of Reflection, it is the symbol of an unsoiled life and of moral purification.

Mixed Gender Freemasonry or Co-Masonry - Masonic institutions that admit both men and women as members.

Moon - The principal emblems on the ancient Tracing-Board were the sun, the moon, and the double triangle having in its centre the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The Lodge is a representation of the universe, where, as the sun rules over the day, the moon presides over the night; The Moon is represented in front of the “B” pillar, the column which means Strength. The Sun is at the opposite of the pillar "J". Creative energy goes from "B" to the Moon, the Moon to the Sun, then to "J".

Moriah - According to chronicles, this is the place where the Temple of Solomon was built, sometimes spoken of as "the threshing-floor of Oman the Jebusite"

Movable jewels - The movable jewels, so called because they are not confined to any particular part of the Lodge, are the Rough .Ashlar, the Perfect Ashlar, and the Trestle-Board. The Immovable Jewels are the Square, the Level, and the Plumb. They are termed Immovable, because they are appropriated to particular parts of the Lodge, where alone they should be found, namely, the Square to the East, the Level to the West, and the Plumb to the South.

Masonic Tenets/Virtues – some of the relevant Masonic values are: Tolerance, Justice, Dignity, Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood and Goodness.

Masonic operation - Action of the Operative Masonic systems.

Middle Chamber - The name of the Lodge of Masters. Also, a candidate, on receiving the Second Degree, is said to be "passed to a Fellow Craft." It alludes to his having passed through the porch to the Middle Chamber of the Temple, the place in which Fellow-Crafts received their wages.

Mosaic Pavement – Ground floor of the Lodge consisting of black and white stones laid lozenge wise, and surrounded by a tessellated border. This symbol refers to the complementary duality of the two principles: Body and Spirit.

Mosaic Square - Space in front of the Temple.

Mother Lodge - In Great Britain, the term Mother Lodge is used to identify the particular Lodge where the individual was first "made a Mason" (i.e. received his Entered Apprentice degree). Mother Lodge may also refer to a Lodge which sponsors the creation of a new Lodge, the Daughter Lodge, to be warranted under the jurisdiction of the same Grand Lodge.

Mystery - mysterion in Greek, is derived from the Greek verb myein. The plural, mysteria, was first used in application to the Eleusinian Mysteries. The Greek terms for initiation, myesis and telete, also became first widely used at the Eleusinian cult of Demeter. While the modern meaning of the term mystery means something unknown, to the ancients mysterion meant something divine, deeply profound and worth knowing.


Nadir - The Swastika is symbolized by the number six which signifies the four points —North, South, East and West—and the poles, or Zenith and Nadir, which coincide with the mystic centre and represent the origin of the universe.

Naphtali - one of the sons of Jacob, brother of Joseph, and a founder of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Neophyte - Literally: newborn, from the Greek “neos”: new and “phutos”: born. In Freemasonry the newly initiated and uninstructed candidate is sometimes so designated.

Net (Crocheted pattern) - Table Term: Blue or red piping placed on the tablecloth and marking the alignment of the arms.

Noon - Time at which the Lodge’s work starts.

North - The north is Masonically called a place of darkness.  The sun in his progress through the ecliptic never reaches farther than 23°28' north of the equator.  A wall being erected on any part of the earth farther north than that, will therefore, at meridian, receive the rays of the sun only on its south side, while the north as a symbol of darkness will be entirely in shadow at the hour of meridian. It is for this reason that apprentices sit on the Northern column, side of the Temple where there are no windows.

North (North Column) – According to the Legend of Solomon, the right hand or south pillar represents the pillar of cloud and the left hand or north pillar that of fire. To us Masons, they represent the ever sustaining power of our God supporting and directing us in the great work we have to do. As they were placed at the entrance of the Temple so are they placed at the beginning of our journey to the Middle Chamber to remind us that we are passing from the world of the seen and temporal, the material world, to the realm of the unseen and eternal, and the spiritual realities.

Notice - a call issued by the Secretary, by order of the lodge or Master, or by other competent authority to attend or perform as specified.

Novitiate - a beginner ; a novice.

Numbers - a number is in Freemasonry a symbol, and no more. It is venerated, not because it has any supernatural efficacy, as thought the Pythagoreans and others, but because it has concealed within some allusion to a sacred object or holy thought, which it symbolizes. The number three, for instance, like the triangle, is a symbol; the number nine, like the triple triangle, another. The Masonic doctrine of sacred numbers must not, therefore, be confounded with the doctrine of numbers which prevailed in other systems. The most important symbolic or sacred numbers in Freemasonry are three, five, seven, nine, twenty-seven and eighty-one.


Oath - Before any candidate for the mysteries, symbols, tenets, and secrets of Freemasonry can be admitted to a Lodge he is required to make a solemn oath by which he pledges secrecy and assumes the obligation of faithfully conforming his life to the teachings of the Order. The most important oath is considered to be the one taken during Initiation.

Obedience - Term indicating a Masonic organ at national level, synonym to Lodge.

Obligation - The solemn promise made by a Freemason on his admission into any Degree is technically called his obligation.  In a legal sense, obligation is synonymous with duty. By his obligation, a Freemason is bound or tied to his Order.

Oblong square - Symbolic form of the Masonic Lodge, an oblong square is a rectangle of which two opposite sides are much longer than the other two. Phi 1.618 is an angle that is linked to the structure of a Pentagram, the symbol of the Order of the Eastern Lodge, whose headquarters have a huge upside down pentagram design.

Occident - Point opposite to the Orient where the Tyler guards the door of the Temple.

Officers - Every Masonic Lodge elects or appoints Masonic Lodge Officers to execute the necessary functions of the lodge's life and work. .

Old Charges - (See: “Landmarks”). Base principles adopted by the majority of Masonic Obediences.

Open White Meetings/ White Tables - Temple meetings that profanes can visit. In principle, no decor is worn by members of the Lodge.

Opening - What is called “opening” is the part of the ritual that enables the passage from the profane world to the sacred world, the initiated world. The opening is made by announcements between the Worshipful Master and two Wardens. It begins with the exterior covering of the Temple, goes on with the inside covering/ornamenting. Then comes the opening itself with the illumination of the Lodge, and according to the Rite, the invocation to the Great Architect of the Universe, the grand honours and acclamations.

Operative - Freemasonry is divided into two branches, an Operative Art and a Speculative Science. The Operative Art is that which was practiced by the Stonemasons of the Middle Ages. The Speculative Science is that which is practiced by the Freemasons of the present day.  It is during XVIIth century that the Lodges of Operative Masons began to accept people who were not skilled in the art.

Orator - Officer of the Lodge, responsible of the strict application of the Rituals and of the regulations. He is the one who can intervene directly and who can stop the work, if the law is not respected. He may also be called upon to present a paper to celebrate milestones in the life of the lodge.

Order - Synonym of Obedience. It may be defined to be a brotherhood, fellowship, or association of certain persons, united by laws and statutes peculiar to the society, engaged in a common object or design, and distinguished by particular habits, ensigns, badges or symbols.

Orient - Part of the Masonic Temple forming a semicircle, facing the front door. The “Oriental Chair” is the seat of the Master in a Symbolic Lodge, and so called because the Master is supposed symbolically to fill the place over the Craft once occupied by King Solomon.

“At the Orient of” – phrase used mostly in the Masonic correspondence. For example, “at the Orient of Aubonne”. The word “Orient” is being associated to the word “city”. In fact the phrase: “At the Orient of...” literally means: point of such city or place where there is Light.


Palliate - to try to conceal the seriousness of an offense by excuses and apologies ; to moderate the intensity of ; to reduce the seriousness of ; to relieve or lessen without curing.

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

Passport - Document that certifies the Masonic Degree achieved. With space for your Masonic history, and signatures for your lodge attendance, it also has pages for you to get signed by lodges you have visited.

Password - Sacred Word. Word given during an Initiation or a Passage to another Degree.

Patent - Authorization for a Lodge to work under the auspices of a Grand Lodge.

Pectoral - in, on, or of the chest.

Pedal - of, or relating to, the foot or feet.

Perseverance - A virtue inculcated, by a peculiar symbol in the Third Degree, in reference to the acquisition of knowledge, and especially the knowledge of the True Word. It is associated to vigilance, and appears on the Hoodwink of the Chamber of Reflection. 

Pilaster - an upright architectural member that is rectangular in plan and is structurally a pier, but is architecturally treated as a column ; it usually projects a third of its width or less from the wall.

Pillars - The Three Pillars that support the Lodge: Wisdom, Strength and Beauty.

Pickaxe - Table term = Fork. An instrument used to loosen the soil and prepare it for digging.  It is one of the Working Tools of a Royal Arch Mason, and symbolically teaches him to loosen from his heart the hold of evil habits.

 - It has been suggested that Temples and Lodges are essentially models of the Cosmos/Universe. What this means is that the people that engage in the ceremonies there, as well as their movements are supposed to symbolize the movements of the celestial bodies, planets.

Plaster – Table Term: Sugar.

Plumb Line - 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, a symbol of justice, rectitude, uprightness, equity and truth. It is an attribute of the Junior Warden.  Also is the Apprentice’s symbolic tool.

Point - Since the XVIIIth century, the abbreviation of words followed by Three Points is a Masonic practice. In the Old Constitutions known as the Halliwell or Regius Manuscript, there are fifteen regulations which are called points. Some authors define point as "a head or chief matter." It is in this sense that we speak of the points of Freemasonry.

Philosophical Council or Areopagus - Degrees 19 to 29 make up what is known as the Degrees of AREOPAGUS which is derived from a court in ancient Athens of the same name. The 30th Degree or "Kadosh" means Holy or Consecrated.

Philosophical Will - Before being admitted into a Lodge, the candidate is placed in the Chamber of Reflection, where he meditates on the passages of time, the brevity of life and the need to transform the old profane into an enlightened Mason. That is the moment when he writes his philosophical will, his last wishes before his profane death.

Plumb – The Junior Warden’s jewel- a stonemason's instrument used for ascertaining the alignment of a vertical surface. It symbolizes upright behavior among Masons. It is also the emblem of deep research of truth, confidence and balance.

Pomegranates - Ornaments placed on the capitals of columns J and B. By their number, by their symmetry and by their left uncovered pips, they symbolize the Masonic family whose members are harmoniously connected by the spirit of order and fraternity.

Pomegranate - Symbol which appears on the two pillars of the Temple.

Pommel - a ball or knob.

Porch - The Porch of the Temple was twenty cubits in length, and the same in breadth. At its entrance was a gate made entirely of Corinthian brass, the most precious metal known to the ancients. Besides this gate there were the two pillars Jachin and Boaz, which had been constructed by Hiram Abif.

Powder - Table term = Drink. It was said once: red powder for wine; white powder for water; black powder for coffee; “Give some powder” – means fill the glass.

Powder from Lebanon - Table term = Snuff.

Precepts - a principle or instruction intended especially as a general rule of action.

Preparator - Officer of the Lodge in charge of bringing the candidate to the Chamber of Reflection and in charge of preparing him for trials. This position requires a great kindness and a lot of dexterity.

Principle of Silence - Promise made by the candidate at his Initiation: he must keep an inviolable secret on signs of recognition and customs of the Masonry, and must not reveal to outsiders the deliberations of the Lodge. In addition he should not reveal the name of a Brother without this one’s permission.

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

Profane - derived from the Latin profanus, from pro (before) and fanum (temple). In Freemasonry it refers to one who has not been initiated into the mysteries of the Craft. 33

Purification - A part of the 1st Degree Initiation ceremony, when the candidate is purified by the four elements.


Questions - certain questions addressed to the profane during Initiation. Only the Lodge officers can ask him questions, in turns. An apprentice who wants to ask questions must stick to the ritual, because he’s not allowed to speak.

Quorum - the number of Masons composing a Lodge is a quorum for any Degree work, or for the transaction of any business.  In opening a Lodge, five is the minimum; for the work of the Entered Apprentice Degree, seven, although the ritual places the number for opening a Lodge of Master Masons at three.


Radiation - The radiation is the penalty imposed by a vote of the workshop, or the Masonic Justice against a Mason. There is also suspension, which is a Masonic punishment, consisting of a temporary deprivation of all the rights and privileges of Freemasonry.

”It’s Raining” - Used between Masons to indicate that among those present, there is a profane and the Brothers need to remain discreet. "It's raining" also indicates that the Temple is not covered.

Raise- When a candidate has received the Third Degree, he is said to have been raised to the sublime Degree of a Master Mason. The expression refers, materially, to a portion of the ceremony of initiation, but symbolically, to the resurrection, which it is the object of the Degree to exemplify.

Reception - Synonym to Admission. The ceremony of initiation into a Degree of Freemasonry.

Recipient - Profane during Initiation. Synonym: neophyte. The French call the candidate in any Degree of Masonry the Recipiendaire, or Recipient

Recognition - Introduction of regular reporting between Masonic Obediences. Also, Grand Lodges are the superior body of any jurisdiction. They alone constitute the authority which can form or recognize a local lodge as being Masonic.

Regalia - the word regalia from Latin means royal things, signifies the ornaments of a king or queen. But it has in modern times been loosely employed to signify almost any kind of ornaments. Hence the collar and jewel, and sometimes even the apron, are called by many Freemasons the regalia.

Regularity - A Lodge working under the legal authority of a Warrant of Constitution is said to be regular. Some Lodges have abandoned parts of Landmarks, considering them to be "archaic" (non admission of women, evocation of the Great Architect of the Universe).

Reprehend - to voice disapproval of ; to express an attitude of unhappiness and disgust.

Resignation - A Freemason can decide to resign from his Lodge and therefore Freemasonry itself, if he has reasoning motives for it. A registered letter to his Worshipful is enough. However, he also needs to make sure he fulfilled his duties. In general, the spirit of the law of Freemasonry does not recognize the right of any member of a Lodge to resign his membership, unless it is for the purpose of uniting with another Lodge. This type of resignation is called a demission.

Rooster - Symbolizes the Light received by the neophyte. It usually announces the arrival of the day and sometimes also symbolizes resurrection.

Rope - Freemasonry uses the symbolism of the rope in three ways. The rope of the recipient in the Initiation ceremony. The knotted rope was used by the builders to define proportions, draw right angles and circles. The tassel is the graphic representation of the Chain of Union. The knots are also called the Lemniscate.

Rough Ashlar - a reminder to the Candidate that he is to think of himself as if he were a building stone and that he will be expected to polish himself in manners and character in order to find a place in the finished Work of Masonry.

Royal Art - Synonym of Masonry. It was a term used in the XVIIIth century and was linked to the legend of King Solomon.

Ruffians - Collective name given to the three craftsmen who killed Hiram Abif in the legend of the Third Degree. In Continental Masonry and in some advanced Degrees, these traitors are called Assassins.

Rite - Type of ceremony practiced by a Lodge. Also it’s a collection of grades or degrees, always founded on the First three, the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason. All the various Rites, except the York and English Rites, begin their systems with the Fourth degree, some claiming as many as ninety-six degrees.

Ritual Set - specific arrangements for each Degree. The mode of opening and closing Lodge, of conferring the Degrees, of installation, and other duties, constitute a System of ceremonies which are called the Ritual.

Rose-Croix - A French term, meaning, literally, Rose Cross and applied to a series of ceremonial grades. (The Seventh Degree of the French Rite, The Eighteenth Degree of the Scottish Rite)


Sacred Book - In Occidental countries, the cross the square and compass are usually placed on the Bible opened at the first chapter of the Gospel of St. John. In certain circumstances the Bible may be replaced with another symbol.

Sacred Word Each Degree has its sacred Word.

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

Salt - Symbol of the wisdom and learning which characterizes a Freemason's Lodge, usually found in the Chamber of Reflection.

Salutary - producing a beneficial effect ; remedial ; promoting health ; curative ; wholesome.

Sand - Table Term. White Sand = salt and Yellow Sand = pepper.

Sash - The sash is a part of the Masonic decoration, usually worn by the Worshipful.

Scottish Rite - Some authorities call this the Ancient and Accepted Rite, but as the Latin Constitutions of the Order designate it as the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, that title has now been very generally adopted as the correct name of the Rite. It’s more than a system of High Grades; it appeared in the XVIIIth century and is a particular vision of Freemasonry.

Seal of Solomon - The Seal of Solomon or the Shield of David, for under both names the same thing was denoted, is a hexagonal figure consisting of two interlaced triangles, thus forming the outlines of the six-pointed star.

Secret - Important concept in Freemasonry. More than a formal discretion, the real secret of Initiation, is actually incommunicable.

SecretaryOfficer responsible for issuing the summons (a formal notice of an impending meeting, with time, date and agenda), recording meeting minutes, completing statistical returns to the Grand Lodge, and advising the Worshipful Master on matters of procedure.

Semi-annual word - The “mot de semester”, or semi-annual word, is used only in France. Every six months a secret word is communicated by the Grand Orient to all the Lodges under its jurisdiction. This custom was introduced October 28, 1773, during the Grand Mastership of the Duke of Chartres, to allow him better control over the Lodges, and to ensure that Lodge members could recognize the members who were not constant in their attendance, and also those Freemasons who either belonged to an unrecognized Rite, or who were not affiliated with any Lodge.

Senior Warden - He is the second officer in a Symbolic Lodge, and governs the Craft in the hours of labour. In the absence of the Master he presides over the Lodge, appointing some brothers, not the Junior Warden, to occupy his place.

Seraph - an order of angels; one of the 6-winged angels standing in the presence of God.

Serving Brother - Brother responsible for the management and maintenance of the wet room. Manual Brother or Artist of the Lodge.

Session - Meeting of Masons outside of the Temple. It can also be white, with the participation of profanes.

Seven - If the number Four symbolizes Earth, and the number Three represents the Sky, Seven is the number of the Universe.

Severally - one at a time ; each by itself ; separately ; independently.

Shod - wearing footgear; with shoes on.

Shovel - Table term = Spoon.

Sign- gestures that convey a meaning which only Masons understand, and which most frequently are used for purposes of recognition. The signs differ according to the Degrees.

Silence - Theoretically during his Apprenticeship, the new Brother is not allowed to speak.

Lodge of Silence - It is the duty of a Mason to keep the secret about what has been said and done in the Lodge.

Skull (The Skull and Cross-Bones) - It evokes the physical death. It is the symbol of the profanes death, who was reborn in real life by Initiation. As the means of inciting the mind to the contemplation of the most solemn subjects, the Skull and Cross-Bones are used in the Chamber of Reflection in the French and Scottish Rites, and in all those Degrees where the Chamber constitutes a part of the preliminary ceremonies of initiation. The Skull and Cross-Bones are a symbol of mortality and death, and are so used by heralds in funeral achievements. 

Solomon - Freemasonry recognizes the high position held by Solomon in authentic history, and in tradition has preserved many significant Solomonic traditions and legends, often mythical, but always highly valuable in Masonic symbolism. His wisdom had become legendary. 

Solstice ceremonies – Celebrations linked to the summer and winter solstices.  The Summer Saint Jean ceremony is that of Saint John the Baptist. The Winter Saint Jean ceremony is of Saint John the Evangelist. The Masonry of the Grand Lodge Switzerland, Alpina, is mostly attached to the Freemasonry of Saint John. Summer Saint John ceremony was formerly called “Ceremony of Hope” and the winter Saint Jean “Ceremony of Recognition”.

Solstices - The days on which the sun reaches is greatest northern and southern declination, which are June 21 and December 22. Near these days are those in which the Christian church commemorates Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist, who have been selected as the patron saints of Freemasonry.

Speculative - 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 elements remained and these became the basis of our present Fraternity. We usually date the birth of speculative Freemasonry at the creation of the Grand Lodge in London in 1717. By Speculative Masonry we allude to a proper application of the useful rules of the Temple Builder whence our souls will derive a spiritual strength and beauty.

Spheres - Terrestrial and celestial spheres appear in the symbolic corpus of the second Degree. It has been written that the spheres were the symbol of the Masonic universality, and teach us to so regulate our lives that when we pass from earth, the terrestrial, it may be to that other and better world, the celestial. The spheres are in all likelihood the symbolization of the mastery of the compass.

Spousal Recognition - Ceremony of adoption by a Lodge of the wife or girlfriend of a Brother.

Square - One of the most important and significant symbols in Freemasonry. It inculcates the lesson of morality, of truthfulness, of honesty.

Square Tool - Usually the Square is crossed with the Compass, having its origins from the second Degree. Allegorically represents balance and straightness.

Stairs - Stairs are present on the tracing boards of Lodges of the 1st and 2nd Degrees. One with three steps, the other with five steps.

Stales - The Chairs.

Stars - Stars symbolize the Freemasons who are fighting against obscurity and darkness. In the French and Scottish Rites lighted candles or torches are called stars when used in some of the ceremonies, especially in the reception of distinguished visitors, where the number of lights or stars with which the visitor is received is proportioned to his rank; but the number is always odd, being 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11.

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

Stick- Or cane. Symbol of great meaning, used by the Master of Ceremonies.

Strength and Vigour - Masonic formula (according to ancient rituals) which expressed the reduplication of meaning, the energy of the action. The Worshipful, when he has suspended a work for a recreation, starts it up again by uttering the phrase "my Brothers, the work starts with strength and vigour".

Strong cement - Table Term= Mustard.

Strong Powder - The Wine.

Station - The positions occupied by the subordinate officers of a Lodge are called Places, as "the Junior Deacon's place in the Lodge." But the positions occupied by the Master and Wardens are called Stations, as "the Senior Warden's station in the Lodge." This is because these three officers, representing the sun in his three prominent points of rising, culminating, and setting, are supposed to be stationary, and therefore remain in the spot appropriated to them by the instructions, while the Deacons and other officers are required to move about from place to place in the Lodge

Step - Each level has a specific step, stage. The way of entering the Lodge. Each Degree has particular steps. Traffic in the Temple must follow a specific way.

Stone/Kilo - Sum of money (Widow's Trunk, Alms-Box).

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

Sublime - lofty, grand, or exalted in thought, expression, or manner ; of outstanding spiritual, intellectual, or moral worth ; tending to inspire awe.

Summer Saint John Ceremony - Part of Freemasons who celebrate the Saint John the Baptist in the summer solstice.

Summons - The Secretary of a Lodge must send to each member of the workshop, as well as to the higher instances, an invitation to participate in the work. This notice shall specify the place where the meeting will take place, the day and time, the composition of the workshop, and the order of the day. In general, any question which is not on the agenda should not be brought up in the Lodge. It is customary to include the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the Worshipful Master, the Secretary and the Treasurer, on the summons.

Sun - One of the two Lights bordering the Delta to the East.

Sulphur - Alchemical symbol which is found in the Chamber of Reflection.

Superfice - a geometrical object which is of two dimensions and exists in a single plane.

Superfluity – excess ; unnecessary ; immoderate, especially living habits or desires.

Superfluous - exceeding what is needed ; excess ; unnecessary.

Superstructure - anything based on, or rising from, some foundation or basis ; an entity, concept, or complex based on a more fundamental one.

Supreme Council - Meeting of the 33rd Degree. 

Supreme Council - Administrative organ which directs and coordinates the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

Sword - The sword is symbolically often used in rituals. The Worshipful Master handles a Flaming Sword.

Symbol - Element of meaning, sensitive image evoking an idea or a reality which remains invisible; Masonic symbols can be expressed by objects, images, words, or gestures.

Symbolic Degrees - The first three degrees of Freemasonry, namely, those of the Entered ApprenticeFellow-Craft, and Master Mason, are known, by way of distinction, as the "symbolic degrees." 

Symbolism - The science which is engaged in the investigation of the symbolic meaning, and the application of their interpretation to moral, religious, and philosophical instruction. In this sense, Freemasonry is essentially a Science of Symbolism.


G\A\O\T\U\ - French abbreviation for « A la Gloire du Grand Architecte de l’Universe », meaning “To the Glory of the Grand Architect of the Universe”. Is usually used as caption of Masonic documents.

Table Lodge - Ritual Banquet that requires all Brothers to be accordingly clothed. 

Tassel - The "Tassel" consists of a cord with tassels on the end.  It represents the "Mystic Tie"; that bond which unites men of diverse opinions into one sacred community of Friends and Brothers. 

Tears - Signs of sadness appearing at 3rd Degree. They are most often represented by keys 'Silver Tears' on the sets.

Temperance - moderation in action, thought, or feeling ; self-restraint ; a habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions.

Temple - 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.

Terrible Brother (French: Frere Terrible) - Great Expert. This Expert is never met in English Masonry. The duty of the “Frere Terrible” is to be expert in the ceremonies as he is liable to be called upon by the Worshipful Master to fill any post which may happen to be vacant for the moment. He is, therefore, the understudy of the whole body of officers, a superior sort of general utility man.

Tetragrammaton/The Ineffable Name/Sacred Name of God - In Greek, it signifies a word of four letters. It is the title given by the Talmudists to the name of God, Jehovah, which in the original Hebrew Consists of four letters. The Tetragrammaton, the symbol of Divine Light and Truth, is considered in the advanced degrees of Freemasonry, like the Orient in the lower, as the great source of true Masonic Light. The Delta presents at its centre the sacred Tetragrammaton in Hebrew fonts: Yod, He, Vav, He. This is the name of God that only the Grand Priory was allowed to pronounce once a year. The Tetragrammaton is responsible of an intense and profound "energy”, hence the need to protect it so that the name was not dirtied by profanes.

Tetractys - During his journeys, the recipient is cleaned by the Four Elements. It is possible to establish a connection between these elements and the Pythagorean Tetractys "Fire. Air..,... Water, Earth...". The sum of the first four numbers is 10. Going from 4 to 1, it is going from the material, from the tangible, from the mineral to the Divine, through the fluid, liquid or gaseous.

Three (1) - Three is the sum of the first two numbers. After the number One, it is the first undividable number. If One, Unity, is God, if Two is the matter, Three is the organized matter. The number Three therefore means the balance: physical, moral, intellectual, or cosmic. The Three, in Masonry, is the number of the Apprentice with his three years, his three steps, the three steps of the stair.

Three (2) - A sacred number in Freemasonry, with which all labor is commenced and finished.  This number reminds us of the three great lights, the three kingdoms of nature, the Holy Trinity. It is also used to indicate the Three principal officers of the Lodge:  the Worshipful, the Senior and Junior Wardens.

The Three Points - Arranged as a triangle, they are commonly used in Masonry as a sign of abbreviation. It is probable that the idea was suggested by the sacred character of the number three as a Masonic number, and these tree dots might refer to the position of the three officers in a French Lodge.

Third Degree - Master’s Grade.

Throne - The seat occupied by the Grand Master in the Grand Lodge of England is called the Throne, in allusion, probably, to the throne of Solomon. In the Masonic Temple, the throne is replaced by a Chair.

Tolerance - The grand characteristic of Freemasonry is its toleration for religion and politics.

Tomb - After the discovery of Hiram’s body, the Fellow Crafts decided to give him a burial worthy of his greatness. For the one who was the best worker in brass, they made a brazen tomb and there laid the cadaver of Master Hiram. All the rituals of the Third Degree are based on/linked to the death of Hiram. All Master Masons of the Globe respect this Masonic tradition.

Tongue of Good Report - having a good reputation ; those who know you report that you are of credit to yourself and to society.

Tools - frequently used symbols. Heritage of Operative Masons.

Traced Architecture - Term, of medieval origin, naming the work presented in the Lodge. The name by which the Minutes are designated in French Lodges.

Tracing Board of a Lodge- The Tracing-Board is a picture formerly drawn on the floor of the Lodge, whence it was called The Floor-Cloth or Carpet. It contains a delineation of the symbols of the Degree to which it belongs.

Tradition - derives from the Latin traditus, past participle of tradere, meaning to give or deliver into the hands of another, to entrust. This word also has Indo-European roots coming from trans, meaning to give. With this understanding, tradition is transmission. It is the handing down of knowledge.

Trestle-Board - Symbolic tool of Master Mason. The Trestle-Board is defined to be the board upon which the Master inscribes the designs by which the Craft are to be directed in their labors. 

Treasure - Treasury of the Lodge is made up by donations, contributions, profits made by investment, in accordance to the Associations Bill of 1901.

Treasurer - Officer in charge of the finances of the Lodge. The role of the Treasurer is to keep the accounts, collect annual dues from the members, pay bills and forward annual dues to the Grand Lodge.

Trials - Are called trials, all the practices used during Initiation.

Triangle - The Triangle is important in Masonry due to its connection to the sacred number three and also because it has long represented the concept of the Deity in geometrical form. Triangulation, that measures the longest distances, is one of the bases of positive science. The triangle achieves the balance between two opposing forces, the active and the passive. Also the Triangle can mean a group of Masons formed by less than seven Brothers. Members of a triangle can not initiate. This term is sometimes used to define the price of a meal or a banquet!

Trident - Table term = Fork.

Trowel - An implement of Operative Masonry, which has been adopted by Speculative Freemasons as the peculiar working-tool of the Master's Degree. By this implement, and its use in Operative Masonry to spread the cement which binds all the parts of the building into one common mass, we are taught to spread the cement of affection and kindness, which unites all the members of the Masonic family, wheresoever’s dispersed over the globe, into one companionship of Brotherly Love. Table term = Spoon.

True Light - Masonic Light, spirit of wisdom synonymous to Royal Art and Masonry.

Tubal-Cain - The first reference to Tubal Cain in Freemasonry is found in the “Legend of the Craft,” where he is called “the founder of smith-craft”. Tubal Cain was a master at forging weapons. Tubal Cain has been consecrated among Masons of the present day as an ancient brother. Tubal Cain has been considered among Masons as a symbol of worldly possessions. Tubal Cain is the password given in the Third Degree of Blue Lodge of the Master Mason.

Tuscan - The Tuscan columns are never fluted, and it does not allow the introduction of any kind of ornament.

Twig - The legend of Hiram speaks of the twig of Acacia. Symbol of the Masters.

Twinning - This is a procedure which links a French Lodge to a foreign Lodge.

Tile - Table term = Plate.

To Tyle - It was used to refer to the questions asked during an investigation, at the moment when the hoodwink is removed. Also, tiling or catch questions, refers to the activity which, through a game of questions and answers, allows Brothers to try the pretensions of a stranger, so they can decide if he’s a potential Freemason or not.

Tyled, Duly tyled - Term used to indicate that no profane or stranger is present in the Temple. 

Tyler- Officer of the Lodge, placed at the door of the Temple, to ensure that no profane can enter the Temple. There is an outdoor Tyler and an internal Tyler (also called keepers). Officer in charge of tiling is there to ensure the verification of the Masonic membership of each one entering the Temple, or the verification of membership to some Degrees of a Brother.  A 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Tyler may participate in all grades Initiations, because he possesses all the required knowledge.


“Ulam” - The Hebrew word ulam for the first part of the temple, symbolizes the opposite of the happy place of light and joy we normally associate with the Temple.   It means “what's ahead”. After the ulam comes the hekal. Its dimensions were 20 cubits wide and 20 cubits long, 30 cubits high. According to the Bible, it was fully carpeted with pure gold.

Undiscovered Country Whose Bourne No Traveler Returns - that which lies beyond death; the afterlife. From Shakespeare, Hamlet : Act III, Scene 1.

Union - See "Chain of Union"

Unworthy Brother - A Brother who betrays another Brother becomes indignant in the Freemasonry context. He will have to pay heavily for his betrayal so that the betrayed Brother could give him back his dignity.


Veil- Tablecloth.

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

Visitor - Regular Mason who, equipped with authentic titles, took part, according to his rank, in work other than his own Lodge’s.

V.I.T.R.I.O.L. - An acronym for the alchemical phrase "Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificandoque Invenies Occultum Lapidem". It is located in the Chamber of Reflection.

VIVAT - Cry of joy that, repeated three times, is the acclamation of the Masons of the Grand Lodge Alpina Switzerland. VIVAT, VIVAT SEMPER VIVAT.

Usual Vocation - your job ; the manner in which you make your living.

Void - It is a vote where there are black ballot balls, which are put in a bag during the vote in the Lodge. The candidate is then postponed.

Volume of the Sacred Law or Book of Law- One of the three Grand Lights of Freemasonry, the Bible is used in most cases. The first condition of admission into, and membership of, the Order is belief in the Supreme Being; the Bible, the Volume of the Sacred Law, is always open in Lodges.  Every candidate is required to take his obligation on that book or the Volume that is held by his particular creed to impart sanctity to an oath or promise taken upon it.

Vote - All decisions concerning the running of the workshop are submitted to a vote of the Masters of the Lodge.

Vouch – assert ; attest ; to verify ; to supply supporting testimony ; to support as being true.

Vouchsafe - to grant or furnish ; to give by way of reply.


Wages - The raise in salary corresponds to the passage to a higher Grade. This increase, obviously, does not result in money. It means new tools, new symbols. The raise in salary of the first Three Degrees are made by the vote of the Lodge.

Wardens - Senior and Junior Wardens, dignitaries of the Lodge. They assist the Worshipful in order to guarantee the success of the Lodge’s work.

Water - Masonic water trial in first Grade Initiation.

Weak Powder - Water.

Weapons – Table Term: Glasses arranged together. This is why this word is only used in its plural form. It is said: "Align Weapons", while the word "Cannon" is rather used to mention just one glass. During “ritual” banquets, an Apprentice Brother is designated to toast the homeland, a Fellow Craft Brother to toast the Grand Lodge of Switzerland, and a Brother Master to toast the less fortunate.

Wet room - In a Masonic building it is a room usually equipped with a bar, cloakroom, restaurant tables, where the Agapes take place. It is called “wet” because profanes can enter. It is not covered, “it is raining” inside.

White - Heavenly Light.  White meetings being Masonic Ceremonies, to which profanes are also invited.

Widow's Children - Synonym for Masons, Freemasonry being widow. In the legend of Hiram, Solomon asked, for the construction of the Temple, to engage the architect Hiram of Tyre, who was the son of a widow. Other explanations can be advanced.

Widow's son – Synonym of Freemasons.

Window - Symbol which appears on the rug of the First and Second Degree's Lodge.

Winter - Saint-John Ceremony - Group of Freemasons who celebrate Saint John the Evangelist at the winter solstice.

Wisdom - It is the outstanding quality of Solomon, whose personality in the Lodge is represented by the Worshipful Master.

Word - Right to speak granted by the Worshipful. (You can ask for the word on an argument only three times on the same subject). Having obtained the right to speak, the Brother has to get up, turn towards the Worshipful, and begin with the formula "Worshipful Master and..."

Work - Due to its origins, Freemasonry is a magnification of the work. The symbols, which it adopted, are obvious proof.

Worshipful - Frequently used adjective: Worshipful Loge, very Worshipful Brother.

Worshipful Master - The highest position within the Lodge. Chairs and runs the Lodge. He is elected for the period laid down in the statutes of the Lodge. (One to three years)

Workshop - Synonym of Lodge. Generic name of group of Freemasons working together, regardless of the Grade.




Zeal – enthusiasm ; diligence ; eagerness and great interest in pursuit of something.

Zenith - Opposite of the Nadir. Climb to the Zenith, corresponds to leaving the finish for infinity, the field of the mortal for eternity, ignorance for knowledge... Meeting of the ascent vertical of a place with the celestial sphere.

Zodiac - The zodiacal circle is divided into twelve parts corresponding to the twelve constellations of the traditional astrology.

Translated from French by SF - Date : 2014/09/30

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