• WordNet 3.6
    • n Freemason a member of a widespread secret fraternal order pledged to mutual assistance and brotherly love
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Freemason One of an ancient and secret association or fraternity, said to have been at first composed of masons or builders in stone, but now consisting of persons who are united for social enjoyment and mutual assistance.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n freemason A member of an order, fraternity, or brotherhood forming a secret society, or series of affiliated secret societies called lodges, now existing in all the countries of Europe, in many parts of America, and in other parts of the world where Europeans have settled in larger or smaller communities. This society is founded on and professes the practice of social and moral virtue; truth, charity in its most extended sense, brotherly love, and mutual assistance being inculcated in it. It possesses an elaborate ritual, numerous grades of officers, and many secret signs and passwords, by which members may make themselves known to other members of the craft in any part of the world. Secret organizations of free or enfranchised operative masons, with similar rituals, were formed in the middle ages, when skilled workmen moved from place to place to assist in building the magnificent sacred structures—cathedrals, abbeys, etc.—which had their origin in those times, and it was essential for them to have some signs by which, on coming to a strange place, they could be recognized as real craftsmen and not impostors. There was such a society of actual masons and builders in England in the seventeenth century, and some persons not belonging to the craft had been accepted as members of it; hence the full name of the present fraternity, “Free and Accepted Masons” (abbreviated F. and A. M.). Modern freemasonry dates from the organization in 1717 of the four lodges then existing in London, on a new basis, into a grand lodge, by which other grand lodges were chartered. To mark its departure from the limited scope of the original society, the principles and methods of the order are called speculative masonry, the terms and insignia of operative masonry being retained. Fable, though absolutely without any historical basis, takes the history of the order back to the Roman empire, to the Pharaohs, to the building of Solomon's temple or the tower of Babel, or even to the building of Noah's ark.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Freemason one of a secret society of so-called speculative masons, united in lodges for social enjoyment and mutual assistance, and laying dubious claim to a connection with the medieval organisations of free operative masons
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. freo; Ger. frei, Ice. frí.


In literature:

You ain't a-goin' to tell me the Freemasons' word, are ye?
"Gascoyne, the Sandal-Wood Trader" by R.M. Ballantyne
A journalist named Morgan, who had been a Freemason, announced his intention of publishing the inviolable secrets of the Society.
"A History of the United States" by Cecil Chesterton
Robert Davis became a member of St. Andrew's Lodge of Freemasons in 1777, and died in November, 1798.
"Tea Leaves" by Various
We've a regular freemasons' code here of things you may do or mustn't.
"A Patriotic Schoolgirl" by Angela Brazil
Another, an old grey-bearded man, came up, and fiercely demanded if I were a Freemason.
"Mystic London:" by Charles Maurice Davies
Past Senior Grand Deacon of Freemasons of England, 1874.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1" by Various
There is a kind of freemason mystery attached to their proceedings, and none but members are in the secret.
"The Pearl of the Antilles, or An Artist in Cuba" by Walter Goodman
On public occasions she walked at the head of the Freemasons wearing the apron and insignia of the order.
"Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 20, August 1877" by Various
Knights Templars and freemasons, 295.
"Notes and Queries, Index of Volume 5, January-June, 1852" by Various
This fact is the underlying cause of the open and hereditary enmity of the Church of Rome for the modern order of Freemasons.
"Sex=The Unknown Quantity" by Ali Nomad

In poetry:

Noah he was virtuous in the sight of the Lord,
He loved a freemason that kept the secret word;
For he built the ark, and he planted the first vine,
Now his soul in heaven like an angel doth shine.
"The Masonic Hymn" by Anonymous British
Come all you freemasons that dwell around the globe,
That wear the badge of innocence, I mean the royal robe,
Which Noah he did wear when in the ark he stood,
When the world was destroyed by a deluging flood.
"The Masonic Hymn" by Anonymous British

In news:

One of the best kept secrets around Lake Orion these days is the fact Orion Lodge No 46 of the Freemasons just celebrated its 160th anniversary.
The lie about the Freemasons lives on.
Gandy celebrates 60 years as an Ancient Freemason .
The Paris Freemasons had sided with the Commune, and the Communards had shot an archbishop.
The Freemasons, Knights Templar and Scottish Rite are subjects of a documentary being shot in part in Guthrie.
You don't have to be a believer, a Freemason, or even well-versed in ancient cultures to get swept up in the multi-layered history and archeo-astronomy surrounding the 33rd parallel north latitude.
Freemason HQ brings centuries-old fraternity to Chicago suburb .
Of Chicago, is part of the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world, the Freemasons.
The Anti-Masonic party, the first third party in the US, was formed in the 1820s to counter the influence of the Freemasons, a secretive fraternal group.