Freemasons have their own lingo, like many organizations. They give special meaning to some common words and have terms you won’t hear anywhere but in a Masonic lodge. The following list is a glossary of sorts for some common Masonic phrases:

  • Appendant bodies: Masonically affiliated groups that Masons or their relatives may join.

  • Degree: One of three progressive stages of advancement in the lodge, conferred using a ritual ceremony; additional degrees are conferred by appendant bodies.

  • Grand Lodge: A governing organization with authority over the individual lodges in its jurisdiction.

  • Grip or token: A special identifying handshake used by Masons to identify each other, different for each degree.

  • Hoodwink: Blindfold worn by candidates during portions of degree ceremonies.

  • Initiated: The completion by a candidate of the 1st Masonic degree.

  • Light: Masonic knowledge.

  • Lodge: A group of Freemasons assembling under the authority of a charter issued by a Grand Lodge; also a building or a room where Masons meet.

  • Operative: The period of Freemasonry when Masons actually worked with stone and constructed buildings

  • Passed: The completion by a Mason of the 2nd degree.

  • Profane: A non-Mason.

  • Raised: The completion by a Mason of the 3rd degree.

  • Recognized: The agreement between Masonic Grand Lodges that each other’s rules and customs conform to a certain accepted standard.

  • Regular: A classification of Freemasonry that practices customs which conform to the laws and regulations of a Grand Lodge.

  • Sign: A hand gesture used as a mode of identification between Masons, different for each degree.

  • Sitting in the East: The position in the lodge room where the Worshipful Master sits, also known as the Oriental chair; lodges are symbolically situated east and west.

  • Speculative: Freemasonry as practiced today, using the symbolism of Operative Masons to build character in men.

  • Step: A position of the feet used as a mode of recognition between Masons, different for each degree.

  • Word or pass: A password used as a mode of recognition between Masons, different for each degree.