Masonic Words

Masonic Ritual Words
in the United States

Masonic words in many of Freemasonry's old ritual books, have become somewhat archaic (seldom used in our modern language).

Since we do not use many of them in our everyday speech, we may be a bit unsure of their exact meaning. ..even if we dislike to admit it.

However, their meanings are very important for us to truly "feel" Freemasonry's power, its beauty and its truths.  

Below are many of the archaic Masonic words used in Masonic ritual in the United States.

The following poem is by Walter K. Belt, from "A Masonic Thought For Each Day of the Year", Missouri Lodge of Research, Volume 28, by Alphonse Cerza, published in 1971, copyrighted in 1972. 

It speaks to us of the necessity to not only speak and learn the Masonic words of the craft, but to learn the meaning of these Masonic words and phrases. 


A to Z Poem

We should know every letter

In our Craft's alphabet;

And some of them are better

Than others are, and yet

Each one as an initial

Some phase of brotherhood

may show as beneficial,

And all of them are good.

If we would praise be earning,

We'll let our brothers see

We have sufficient learning

To go from A to Z.

Then let us all work harder,

Show how we really feel.

Yes, let us start with Ardor,

And let us end with Zeal.


Masonic Words in Everyday Language

Like most words in the English language, many of the Masonic words within the Craft, below, have multiple meanings, e.g.:  "Manifold":  Vehicle engines have manifolds, however Masonically, the word, "Manifold" denotes a whole entity which is composed of many and diverse elements.

The reason for this is because as our English language has changed over the years, many of these Masonic words have fallen into dis-use.

In the list below, if there are multiple meanings of Masonic words, they have been omitted, to provide you with a basic Fast Track, (easy-to-learn), Fat Free (non-wordy) understanding of only their Masonic meanings to assist you in your quest for light.


Masonic Words

Ardor:   Fiery intensity of feeling.
Admonish:   To gently and constructively counsel another person.
Allegory A literary style that uses symbols, characters or events to suggestively represent an abstract idea.
Allude A hint.  To make a somewhat disguised reference about a person, place or thing.
Archaic Out of use.  So extremely old as seeming to belong to an earlier period.
Aspersion An unfavorable or damaging remark.
Lacking refinement or culture.  Coarse, very cruel,  savage.
Benediction A ceremonial prayer requesting divine protection
Beneficent A benefit.  Doing or producing good.
Beseech To earnestly ask or request.
Bourne An archaic term for a goal or destination
Candor Candid.  The quality of being honest and straightforward in attitude and speech.
Celestial Relating to Heaven or the spirit.
Censure Harsh criticism or disapproval.
Circumscribe To draw a line or a boundary around.
Circumspection Knowing how to avoid embarrassment or distress by being prudent.
Conciliates Compromise.  The ability to come to terms in the interests of obtaining good will.
Conform The ability to adapt oneself.
Consecrated Solemnly dedicated to or set apart for a high purpose, usually a Holy purpose.
Contrive To come up with (an idea, plan, explanation, theory, or principle) after a mental effort.
Convex Curving or bulging outward.
Countenance Consent to or give permission.

Profanes, pretenders, intruders, eavesdroppers.  Those seeking to obtain the Masonic words and secrets of  Masonry without having been admitted to the fraternity.

Delineate To accurately depict a shape.  To draw or trace the outline of; sketch out.
Deluge An overwhelming number or amount of an item; in a deluge of rain.
Demean To reduce in worth or character.
Deportment A manner of personal conduct or behavior.
Derogatory Implies contempt or disapproval, ...such as a derogatory remark.
Diligent Taking care, patience and perseverance in carrying out tasks.
Discerning Having, revealing and exercising keen insight and good judgment. 
Discordant Conflicting.  Not in agreement or harmony.
Discreet Tactful.  Good at keeping secrets, or subtle and unobtrusive.
Diurnal Occurring in the daytime.  Belonging to the period of daylight.  (This is one of the Masonic words which few people understand its meaning.)
Divest To deprive, remove or take away possessions from someone.
Eavesdropper One who stands under the eaves, or near the window or door of a house, to listen; hence, a secret listener.
Ecliptic Astronomic plane containing the Earth's orbit about the Sun.  An imaginary line followed on the earth's surface by the direct ray of the Sun during the year.  Solomon's temple, located in Jerusalem, is north of this line.
Edifice A building.  Especially a large or impressive one.
Emblematic Serving as a visible symbol for something abstract; e.g.:  as a crown is emblematic of royalty.
Emulation To copy.  An effort made to imitate another person's actions.
Endue To endow.  To provide with a quality or trait.
Esteem To regard with respect and consideration.
Exalted Noble.  Elevated in rank, character, or status. 
Exhort To make an urgent appeal.
Expedient Practical.  Most appropriate to a purpose.
Fallacy A false, erroneous or mistaken idea.
Fervency Feelings of great warmth and intensity.
Firmament The vault or expanse of the heavens; the sky.
Fruition To bear fruit.  To fulfill.
Grand Artificer Deity.  Creator of the Universe.  Master Architect.  God, Allah, YHWH, etc..
Homage Expression of high regard.  Showing respect or attesting to the worth or influence of another person.
Hypocrisy Falsely assuming the appearance of virtue or religion.
Immemorial Extending back or existing since beyond the reach of memory, record, or tradition. Example:  Time immemorial.
Implore To earnestly call or pray for.
Inclemencies Physical severity or harshness (commonly in respect to the elements or weather); roughness; storminess; rigor; severe cold, wind, rain, or snow. 
Inculcated To be taught.  To implant by repeated statement or admonition; teach persistently and earnestly.
Incumbent Obligatory.  A duty to which one is obliged to perform.
Indissoluble Firm.  Stable.  Incapable of being dissolved, decomposed or destroyed.
Ineffable Not to be spoken because of its sacredness.  Unutterable: such as the ineffable name of the Deity.
Insidious Stealthily treacherous or deceitful.
Inundation To overwhelm.  To flood.
Invoking To call on for aid or protection; to invite earnestly or solemnly; to summon; to address in prayer; to solicit or demand by invocation; to implore; as, to invoke the Supreme Being, or to invoke (appeal for) His blessing.
Laudable Deserving commendation; praiseworthy.
Licentious Illegal or Immoral.  Disregard of rules.
Manifold A whole entity which is composed of many and diverse elements.  Ex:  Manifold destiny.
Mercenary Motivated solely by a desire for monetary or material gain.
Meridian The position of the sun at noon.
Monitorial Method of mutual instruction.
Nicety Detail, exactness or precision.
Obdurate Hard; firm; unbending; inflexible; unyielding; stubborn.
Oppress To impose excessive burdens upon; to overload; hence, to treat with unjust rigor.
Palliate To try to mitigate, lessen, cover for or conceal the gravity of (an offense) by excuses, apologies, etc.
Patronize Regularly attend.
Pervade Permeate, diffuse.  To spread through.
Pilasters An ornamental and structural column that usually projects about a third of its width from the wall to which it is attached and contains a base and a capital (ornamental piece) on top.  A pilaster is part of a wall, whereas a column is free-standing.    
Pious Reverence.  Having or showing strong religious feelings and devotion toward the Creator.
Precepts A rule or principle prescribing a particular course of action or conduct.
Prone Lying flat.  Prostrate.
  1. Wise in handling practical matters; exercising good judgment or common sense.
  2. Careful in regard to one's own interests; provident.
  3. Careful about one's conduct; circumspect.
Prudential Wise.  Exercising good judgment and common sense.
Recapitulate Summary.  To repeat in a concise form.  Short form.  Recap.
Rectitude Rightness.  Correctness of conduct and principle. 
Reformation Improvement.  Betterment.  Correction of an imperfect state.  Reform.
Reign Rule.  To have control, or influence over.
Reprehend Reprimand.  Disapprove.
Reverential Honor.  Esteem, Revere, Adore.  A feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe. 
Salutary Wholesome.  Promoting or conducive to some beneficial purpose.  A purpose which deserves a salute.
Seraphic A pure, angelic and burning love or ardor.  A Seraphim is one of a class of celestial beings with 6 wings...some believe they are the first of the nine classes of angels. 

They are mentioned in the Old Testament in Issaiah. 6:2, 3, 6, 7.   Seraph means "fiery ones", an allusion, it is supposed, to their burning love. They are represented as "standing"..."hovering"?... above the King as he sat upon his throne, ready at once to minister unto him. Their form appears to have been human, with the addition of their 3 sets of wings. 

Shewbread Showbread.  1 Sam. 21:1-6. This bread consisted of twelve loaves made of the finest flour. They were flat and thin, and were placed in two rows of six each on a table in the holy place before the Lord.

They were renewed every Sabbath (Lev. 24:5-9), and those that were removed to give place to the new ones were to be eaten by the priests only in the holy place (see 1 Sam. 21:3-6; comp. Matt. 12:3, 4).

The number of the loaves represented the twelve tribes of Israel, and also the entire spiritual Israel, "the true Israel;" and the placing of them on the table symbolized the entire consecration of Israel to the Lord, and their acceptance of God as their God.

The table for the bread was made of acacia wood, 3 feet long, 18 inches broad, and 2 feet 3 inches high. It was plated with pure gold. Two staves, plated with gold, passed through golden rings, were used for carrying it.

Shewed Showed.  An archaic word meaning to show, display or exhibit.   
Solicit Request.  To petition for something which is desired.
Sublime Ultimate.  The greatest or most supreme and elevated degree.  Awe-inspiring.  Exalted. 
Subservient Useful.  Serving or acting in a subordinate capacity through a sense of duty.  Compliant and obedient to authority because of a deep understanding of the whole.
Subsisted To Exist.  To Be.
Sundry Various and Diverse.  Many. 
Superficies Superficial.  Outward appearance.  Shallow. Without depth. Residing on a single plane.
Superfluities Excesses.  That which is not needed.
Sustenance Nourishment.  That which is needed to sustain life.
Symmetry Beauty as a result of balance and a harmonious arrangement.  Excellence of proportion.  Regularity of form or arrangement in terms of like, reciprocal, or corresponding parts.
Synonomous Synonymous.  Same.  Like.  Expressing or implying the same idea.
Tabernacle A place of worship.  Shelter.  A temporary dwelling place. 
Temperate Moderate.  Not extreme in behavior.
Tempest Violent disturbance such as a storm or tornado.
Temporal Temporary.  For a limited time.
Tenets Principles. 
Tesselated Checkered.  Pertaining to or like mosaic tiling.  The word "tessella" means small square.
Unbiased Fair and impartial.  Without bias.
Unfeigned Real.  Sincere.  Unfaked.
Unsullied Pure.  Honorable.  Clean.  Untainted. 
Venerable Extremely old.  Worthy of Respect.  Revered.
Vertex The highest point of something.  The point of intersection of lines or the point opposite the base of a figure, as the top point of a triangle or a mountain.
Vicissitudes Changes.  Fluctuations.  Variations.
Vouchsafe To promise or agree, condescendingly, because it is in your power; to bestow a special favor.  To vouch as safe.
Waft Cause to move to and fro.
Wrought Created.  Made. Designed.
Zeal With passion. Fervor.  Eager and ardent interest in pursuit of something.


Go Dark   The Masonic words "go dark" have a two-fold meaning.  Click on the link to read more about it.           

Anno Lucis

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