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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.


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

Grand Lodge

Also referred to as a Grand Jurisdiction. This is a governing organization with authority over the individual lodges in its jurisdiction. In the USA, each State is its own independent jurisdiction. In other countries, a Grand Lodge may encompass the entire country or just a portion of it. And example would be the Grand Lodge of England. 

Grip or token

A special identifying handshake used by Masons to identify each other, different for each degree.


Blindfold worn by candidates during portions of degree ceremonies.


The completion of the 1st Masonic degree of Masonry. A candidate has petitioned the fraternity for membership, after completion of the initiation ceremony, is now a Masonic brother. The brother is referred to as an Entered Apprentice. 


Masonic knowledge.


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 Masory

The period of Freemasonry when Masons actually worked with stone and constructed buildings. 


The completion of the 2nd Degree of Masonry. The brother is now referred to as a Fellow Craft, which comes from the term "Fellow of the Craft". His responsibilities are expanded to learn much about himself and the fraternity before moving on in the fraternity. 


The completion of the 3rd degree of Masonry. The brother is now called a Master Mason and is a full member of the fraternity with all rights, privileges and responsibilities that come with that status. 


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


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


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. Masonic lodges are symbolically situated east and west, even if their physical structure does not allow for this arrangement.


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


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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