A Glossary of Masonic Terms

Part of the Freemasons For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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.

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