Freemasons

Freemason

[free-mey-suhn, free-mey-]
noun
1.
a member of a widely distributed secret order (Free and Accepted Masons) having for its object mutual assistance and the promotion of brotherly love among its members.
2.
(lowercase) History/Historical.
a.
one of a class of skilled stoneworkers of the Middle Ages, possessing secret signs and passwords.
b.
a member of a society composed of such workers, which also included honorary members (accepted masons) not connected with the building trades.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English fremason. See free, mason

freemasonic [free-muh-son-ik] , adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
freemason (ˈfriːˌmeɪsən)
 
n
medieval history a member of a guild of itinerant skilled stonemasons, who had a system of secret signs and passwords with which they recognized each other
 
freemasonic
 
adj

Freemason (ˈfriːˌmeɪsən)
 
n
Sometimes shortened to: Mason a member of the widespread secret order, constituted in London in 1717, of Free and Accepted Masons, pledged to brotherly love, faith, and charity
 
Freemasonic
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

Freemason
late 14c., originally a traveling guild of masons with a secret code; in the early 17c. they began accepting honorary members and teaching them the secrets and lore, which by 1717 had developed into the fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons. The exact origin of the free- is a subject of dispute. Some
see a corruption of Fr. frère "brother," from frèremaçon "brother mason;" others say it was because the masons worked on "free" standing stones; still others see them as "free" from the control of local guilds.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

Freemasons definition


A men's fraternal organization with some religious aspects. Freemasons claim descent from the builders of the Temple in Jerusalem.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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