Dictionary copyright 1999 PM John T. Mathews




ILL. OR  ILLUSTRIOUS: A title used in addressing members of the 33rd.


ILLUSTRATE: Giving or showing an example.


ILLUSTRATION: A drawing, picture, or example.


ILLUSTRATIVE: Showing by example or picture.


INDISCRIMINATELY: Without distinction between.


I.N.R.I: Jesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudworum, meaning "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."


INTELLIGIBLE: Capable of being read or understood




JACHIN: Comes from two Hebrew words meaning "God will establish." The right hand pillar of the porch of King Solomon's Temple.


JACOB'S LADDER: Symbol of progress from earth to heaven.


JEWELS, MOVABLE AND IMMOVABLE: The Movable jewels are the Rough and Perfect Ashlars and the Trestle Board and are so called because they are not confined to any particular part of the lodge whereas the Immovable jewels: the Square, Level, and Plumb, have definite locations. They are called "jewels" not because of their materials, but because of their meaning. The word "jewel" comes from the Greek meaning "bright or shining."




KORAN, THE: The Sacred Volume of Mohammedan Law.




LAMB: "In all ages the Lamb has been deemed an emblem of innocence." The candidate is therefore given a white lambskin apron.


LANDMARKS: Ancient and universal customs of the Order which gradually grew into operation as rules of action.


LAWFUL AGE: A man of discretion.


LAWFUL INFORMATION: That one has tested by trial and examination, or knows that such has been done by another.


LEGALLY CONSTITUTED: A Lodge working under proper authority and Charter from a Grand Lodge.


LEGENDARY: according to popular belief or report, but without proof. A legend usually carries with it the idea of the miraculous.


LEGIBLE: Capable of being read.


LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES: Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy.


LILY-WORK: Emblem of peace and unity.


LODGE OF THE HOLY SAINTS JOHN OF JERUSALEM and LODGE OF ST. JOHN: Masonic tradition has it that the primitive, or mother, Lodge was held at Jerusalem and dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and then to St. John the Evangelist, and finally to both. This Lodge was therefore called "The Lodge of the Holy Saints John of Jerusalem." From this Lodge all other Lodges are supposed, figuratively, to descend.


LOST WORD: That for which the Mason search is to discover the divine in himself and in the world that he might achieve mental satisfaction and ultimate happiness.


LOW TWELVE: The hour of midnight; darkness is a symbol of death as well as of ignorance.


LUX E TENEBRIS: Latin meaning "Light out of darkness."




MAKING A MASON "AT SIGHT": By a Grand Master's prerogative, some constitutional requirement is set aside-usually the ballot, and a man is made a Master Mason without waiting or instruction between degrees.


MASONIC AGES: The age of an Entered Apprentice is said to be three years (the symbol of peace or perfect harmony); that of a Fellowcraft, five years (the symbol of active life); and that of a Master Mason, seven years (the symbol of perfection).


MERIDIAN: The position of the sun at noon.


MORIAH: A hill in Jerusalem on which the Temple of Solomon was built.


MOSAIC PAVEMENT: Tessellated pavement or checkered floor. An inlay floor composed of black and white squares.


MOUTH TO EAR: The method whereby the esoteric work of Freemasonry is passed on from one Mason to another, or from one Mason to the candidate who is qualified to receive such information.


MYSTIC TIE: Spiritual tie not easily broken; fellowship among Masons.




NEITHER NAKED NOR CLOTHED: Neither unclothed, or defenseless, nor clothed and self-sufficient.


NOBLES: Members of the Mystic Shrine.




OATH: A solemn affirmation, in the name of God, that what one testifies is true.


OBLIGATION: A promise or pledge of obedience. The Mason takes an obligation, not an oath, that he will not depart from the promises he makes.


OBLONG SQUARE: A right angle with one side longer than the other.


ORALLY: Aloud, spoken.


ORIENTAL CHAIR: The seat of the Master in the East; the Oriental Chair of King Solomon.


ORNAMENTS OF A LODGE: The Mosaic Pavement, Indented Tessel, and Blazing Star.


ORNAN:  Name of Jebusite from whom David purchased a thresingfloor in Jerusalem in which King Solomon’s temple was built.  This was previously the site of the alter.




PAST: A term applied in Masonry to an officer who has held an office for the term for which he was elected, and has then retired, as Past Master, Past Senior Grand Warden.


PASSING THE CHAIR: The ceremony of installation of the presiding officer.


PECTORAL: Pertaini breast.


PEDESTALS: The columns before the Master and Wardens of a lodge.


PERFECT AHSLAR: Every Mason is expected to perfect or "polish" himself in building his character in order that he may become acceptable in the sight of God and be fit to take his rightful place in the finished work of Masonry.


PERFECT LODGE: One which contains the constitutional number of members.


PERFECT POINTS OF ENTRANCE: Symbolic action called for on entrance into a lodge.


PERFECT SQUARE: A right angle with the sides equal.


PHARAOH: The title of the ruler of ancient Egypt.


PHILALETHES: Friends of truth.


PLANETARY: Pertaining to the planets.


PLUMB: An instrument for erecting perpendiculars.


PLUMB LINE: The Working Tool of a Past Master; the perfect emblem of uprightness.


POTENTATE: A ruler, sovereign, or monarch.


POT OF INCENSE: Signifies that, of all forms of worship, it is more acceptable to God to be pure and blameless in our inner lives than anything else.


PROFANE: A non-Mason, The word comes from the Latin pro meaning "before" and Janum meaning "a temple."  Hence, in Masonry it means those who have not been in the Temple, that is, initiated.


PROFICIENT: Means not only proficient in the ritualistic work, but before the world in daily living.






REFRESHMENT: Rest period symbolized by noon.


REGULAR LODGE: One working under a charter or warrant from a legal authority.


REPRIMAND: One of the Masonic penalties which can be and is enforced to reprove.


RITUAL: Comes from the Latin ritualis meaning "ceremonial forms."


ROUGH ASHLAR: The unenlightened member; man in his natural state before being educated.




SANCTUM SANCTORUM: Latin for "Holy of Holies."


SECRETS: Masonry's only secrets are in its methods of recognition and of symbolic instructions. Its principles and aims have never been secret.


SHIBBOLETH: An ear of corn; a test word; a watchword; slogan.


SIGNS, MASONIC: Modes of recognition often serving as a reminder of some event or pledge.


SOLSTICE: The point in the ecliptic at which the sun is farthest from the equator (north in summer, south in winter).


SONS OF LIGHT: During the building of King Solomon's Temple the Masons were so called.


SPECULATIVE MASONRY: Freemasonry in its modern acceptance; the application of the implements of Operative masonry to a system of ethics.


SPRIG OF ACACIA: Symbolizes the immortality of the soul.


STATIONS AND PLACES: Officers are elected to stations and appointed to places.


SUMMONS: A notification from the Master to appear. For its neglect, because it

comes directly under the province of his obligation, a member may be disciplined and/or punished.


SUSPENSION: Temporary privation of power or rights, such as suspension for nonpayment of dues. One of the Masonic penalties.


SWORD POINTING TO THE NAKED HEART: Signifies that justice is one of the most rigorous laws and if we are unjust in our hearts, the center of our being, the inevitable result of injustice will find us out.


SYMBOL: Signifies or represents some truth, idea or fact, but is not itself the thing it represents.


SYMBOL OF GLORY: The Blazing Star in the old lectures. The star in the center represented Deity, hence, the "Symbol of Glory."




TENETS OF FREEMASONRY: Dogmas; principles, beliefs, doctrines; teachings of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. A Tenet is something obviously true; that which is universally accepted without question.


TERRESTRIAL: Belonging to the earth.


TESSELLATED PAVEMENT: Checkered floor of black and white, symbolic of the triumphs and the despairs throughout life.


TETRAGRAMMATON: A Greek word signifying "four letters.' It is a name given by the Talmudists when referring to God or Jehovah.


TOKEN, MASONIC: A sign used for recognition to prove that a man is a Mason.




TRACING BOARD: Or emblematic chart. Emblems used to illustrate the lectures.


TRADITIONAL: According to a belief handed down from generation to generation, but not supported by any sure or exact evidence. A tradition need have nothing of the miraculous in it.


TRANSITION: The passing over from one stage to another.


TRAVELING FROM WEST TO EAST: In Operative Masonry workmen traveled from one job to another and the word "traveling" came to signify a form of work. Hence, a Mason works his way toward the East (place of light) by improving himself as he progresses through life.


THREE STEPS:  Emblematical of youth, manhood, and age.


TRESTLE BOARD: The carpet or board upon which the Master inscribes the designs for guidance of the Craft. In the present day it refers to the meeting notice sent to the membership.


TRIALS, MASONIC: Are held in Masonic courts of law in which testimony is heard and the accused either found innocent or guilty.


TROWEL: The Working Tool of the Master Mason. Symbolically, to spread the cement of Brotherly Love to fit the capstone to complete the building.


TUBAL CAIN: Artificer in brass and iron.  The first Master Craftsman, son of Lamech and Zillah. See Genesis IV:22.


TYRE:  City of Sidonian Empire which is only 120 miles by sea from Jerusalem.  King Hiram or Tyre provided materials for the building of the Temple.




UN-MASONIC CONDUCT: Conduct of a Mason which violates the laws of the Craft and his obligation thereto.




VISITING: To visit a lodge outside of your "regular" lodge.  Visitation Is a privilege and not a right.


V.S.L: Volume of the Sacred Law.


VOUCHING: A brother cannot vouch for the Masonic standing of a brother unless he has sat with him in a Masonic Lodge. Knowledge of his standing or membership in a body requiring Masonic membership as a prerequisite is not grounds for avouchment.


VOID: Empty.




WARDENS COLUMNS: At the beginning of the opening ceremonies both columns are down, The Senior Warden's column is elevated down when the WM declares the Lodge open. It is lowered when the Master declares the Lodge called from labor to refreshment, or when, ill the closing ceremonies.  The Junior Warden's column is elevated up, when the Lodge is at refreshment. It raised at the moment when the Master declares the Lodge at refreshment, and is lowered when he calls the Lodge to labor. The Senior Warden's column is lowered and raised at the same times.


WAGES, A MASTER'S: Symbolizing the fruits of a man's labors in Masonic work.


WINDING STAIRS: Is one which tries a man's soul. He must approach it with faith believing that there is a top, that by a long and arduous climb he will reach a Middle Chamber.  A place of light,




WORSHIPFUL: Title of honor and respect.


WORTHY AND WELL QUALIFIED: That by his character and moral living, the candidate is worthy to be a member.






YEAR, MASONIC: While the civil calendar reckons from the Year of our Lord and is designated A.D., the Masonic calendar dates from the year when God said, "Let there be Light," and is designated A. L.


YOD: The tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.


YORK RITE: The degrees of the lodge, chapter, council, and commandery.




ZEAL: Intensity of purpose and of earnestness.


ZEND-AVESTA: The Persian Volume of the Sacred Law.


ZENITH: The point in heavens directly over head of the spectator; great height.


ZION: The mountain or hill in Palestine on which Jerusalem was built.

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