Glossary of Masonic Terms

Acacia: Any of various chiefly tropical trees of the genus Acacia, having compound leaves and tight clusters of small yellow or white flowers.

Accord: To make to conform or agree; bring into harmony.

Advancement: Movement forward, i.e., the movement from one degree to the next.

Artificer: A skilled worker, craftsman. A person adept at designing and constructing, an inventor.

Bourn; Bourne: A boundary, as between properties; limit.

Cable Tow: A compound word of Masonic coinage combining cable (a rope) and tow (a rope for pulling).

Cardinal: Of basic importance.

Circumscribe: To draw a circular line by the compasses; symbolic of the boundary line of Masonic conduct.

Clandestine: Concealed, usually for some secret or illicit purpose. In Freemasonry, illegal, not authorized.

Cleft: Opening made by a crack or crevice; a hollow between two parts.

Contention: Strife or struggle.

Cowan: A Masonic term which means intruder or one who accidently enters where he is not wanted. This is not to be confused with the word eavesdropper or one who deliberately tries to overhear and see what is not meant for his eyes and ears.

Emulation: The desire to equal or surpass; ambitious rivalry.

Equivocation: The use of equivocal language, e.g., words capable of two interpretations, cryptic, evasive, ambiguous.

Guttural: From the Latin “guttur”, the throat.

Inviolate: Kept sacred or unbroken.

Lay or Inlay: The manner or position in which something is situated (lay). To set (a piece of wood, metal, etc.) into a surface to form a design that is usually level with the surface (inlay).

Manual: Relating to the hand, from the Latin “manus”, a hand.

Mercenary: Motivated solely by a desire for monetary or material gain; greedy, venal.

Pectoral: Belonging to the breast; from the Latin “pectus”, the breast.

Pedal: Belonging to the feet, from the Latin “pedes”, the feet.

Perjured: Having willfully told a lie while under lawful oath or affirmation; having broken an oath.

Profane: One not initiated into the Fraternity of Craft, a non Mason.

Worshipful: As used in Worshipful Master, From the Anglo-Saxon, worthship (worthy); honorable or respectable. The term has no religious or sacred implication.