Browse the glossary by clicking on any of the letters below.

  A  |  B  |  C  |  D  |  E  |  F  |  G  |  H  |  I  |  J  |  K  |  L  |  M

  N  |  O  |  P  |  Q  |  R  |  S  |  T  |  U  |  V  |  W  |  X  |  Z

Alphabetically Arranged with Cyclopedic Meanings and Bible References


The eagle has been a symbol among the different peoples of the world from time immemorial.  In Egypt, Greece, and Persia it was sacred to the sun; among pagans it was the emblem of Jupiter; among the Druids it was the symbol of their supreme god.  The strength, swiftness, boldness, and generous treatment of its young are variously employed in the Scriptures.  In the jewel of the Rose Croix Degree the eagle is displayed at the foot of the cross.  It is there very appropriately selected as a symbol of Christ, in his Divine character bearing his redeemed children on his wings, teaching them with unequaled love and tenderness to poise their unfledged wings and soar from the evils of the world to a higher and holier sphere.  Very significant is the fact that the wings are displayed as if in the very act of flight.  Here are some similar symbolic uses of the eagle in the Holy Scriptures... Deut. 32:11 -  Hab. 1:8

Ear, The Listening

In the Hebrew Sacred Writings stress is laid upon the idea that true hearing requires both understanding and obedience.  Such is the meaning of the phrase, "Let him that hath ears to hear, hear."  One of the three precious jewels of a Fellow Craft Mason is the "Listening Ear."  Thus he is admonished not only to receive lessons of instructions from his teacher, but that he should treasure them in his breast, so as to ponder over their meaning and carry out their design.  Divine requirements for true hearing which involve understanding and obedience can be found in the Holy Scriptures here... Matt. 11:15 - Matt. 13:15-18 - Mark 8:18 - Rev. 2:7,11,29


All pottery ware made of clay and fired except porcelain, china or stoneware.


In all Ancient Mysteries, the East was regarded as peculiarly sacred.  As the cardinal point of the sun-rising it was considered symbolic of Light, not only by sun-worshipers but by those of more enlightened religious intelligence.  Hence the East is the seat of the highest officer of a Masonic Lodge -- the Worshipful Master; Lodge halls or rooms are oblong from East to West; candidates travel from the West to the East in search of Light.


This name was given to a cowan, or a person who sought to listen in on secrets to which he was not entitled, because of an early form of punishment.  A detected cowan was forced to stand beneath the eaves of a house during a downpour of rain until he was soaked almost to the drowning point.


A tropical tree. The heartwood yields heavy, deep black wood, hard and durable, and takes a good polish.  Commonly used in the early to mid-Victorian period.

Edict of Cyrus

Special recognition of the permission of Cyrus for the Jews to carry back with them the precious ornaments and sacred vessels of the Temple of Solomon which had been preserved is commemorated in the Royal Arch Degree, and referred to in the Fifteenth Degree, or Knight of the East, of the Scottish Rite.  See Babylonian Captivity.

Edwardian Era (1901-1910)

The reign of Edward VII, which departed from Victorianism into an opulent, elegant period, which was contrasted by a challenge to social values, morals, and political change.  It was also the period of the greatest innovations of "high" Art Nouveau jewelry.


Conduction of an electric current by an electrolyte of charged particles.  The process creates plated objects in silver, gold and other metals.  ILLUSTRATION


Articles consisting of a base metal coated with silver, gold, nickel or brass by the process of electrolysis.


A sacred word in some of the high degrees, being one of the names applied in Scripture to the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is a Greek form from the Hebrew, Immanual, and signifies "God is with us."  A prophetic title of Christ confirmed when the Saviour was to be incarnated in human flesh... Isa. 7:14 -  Matt. 1:23


An emblem is an occult representation of an idea, principle, or truth which cannot be seen with the natural eye, but may be perceived by the mind and heart.  Thus, the square is in Freemasonry an emblem of morality; a plumb line, of rectitude of conduct; and a level, of equality of human conditions.  Emblem is very generally used as synonymous with symbol, although the two words do not express exactly the same meaning; an emblem is a visible object representing an idea; a symbol represents an idea or truth by an image whether that image is presented by a tangible object or through words uttered in the form of a parable, legend, tradition, or myth.  All emblems are symbols; but all symbols are not emblems.  Like the Bible, Masonic history and teachings are filled with emblems, as well as symbols.


Making raised designs on the surface of sheet metals by means of dies.  Hard steel dies are made in pairs, the male die taking the form of the inside of the object and slightly smaller than the female die which forms the external part of the object.  A sheet of the desired metal is placed between the two dies and compressed, thus forming the desired design.  EXAMPLE


Latin; plural, emeriti.  The Romans applied this word--which comes from the verb emerere, to gain by service--to a soldier who had served out his time; hence, in the Supreme Councils of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of this country, an active member, who resigns his seat by reason of age, infirmity, or for other cause deemed good by the Council, may be elected an Emeritus member, and will possess the privilege of proposing measures and being heard in debate, but not of voting.


Hebrew.  One of the words in the high degrees.  It signifies integrity, fidelity, firmness, and constancy in keeping a promise, and especially Truth, as opposed to falsehood.  In the Scottish Rite, the Sublime Knights Elect of Twelve of the Eleventh Degree are called "Princes Emeth," which mean simply men of exalted character who are devoted to truth.


The title given to the Commander or presiding officer of a Commandery of Knights Templar, and to all officers below the Grand Commander in a Grand Commandery.  The Grand Commander is styled "Right Eminent," and the Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of the United States, "Most Eminent."  The word is from the Latin eminens, "standing above," and literally signifies "exalted in rank."  Hence, it is a title given to the cardinals in the Roman Church.


Powder or paste made from silicate of glass and powdered metallic oxides, placed on metal to which it is fused in a furnace.   The use of vitreous enamel coatings on Masonic watch FOBs began to appear later in the nineteenth century.  Vitreous or “glass-like” enamels consist of finely ground minerals, usually including quartz, suspended in a viscous liquid that allows the enamel to be applied to the surface with a brush.  Various metallic oxides create the colors, and other oxides are added to make the colors opaque.  When properly heated in a kiln, these substances fuse into a hard, glassy coating.  Enameling is ages old but translucency was only fully achieved in the nineteenth century.  The metal surface beneath the translucent enamel could be artfully varied by machining, carving or foiling to suggest depth, or to add an interesting pattern or reflectivity.  If machined in symmetrical designs the patterning is called guilloché.  If the surface was simply routed out the result was called basse-taille.  If small, individual voids were created and filled with opaque enamels, it was termed champlevé.  If the enamel colors were separated by fine soldered wires, and flush polished, it was called cloissoné.  However, the most common form of fired enamel on Masonic watch FOBs was direct painting with opaque colors.  This enameling technique most closely approximates traditional oil painting and yields the most life-like image.   EXAMPLE


All regular assemblies of the Knights Templar were formally called Encampments.  They are now styled Commandries in America, and Grand Encampments of the States are called Grand Commandries.  In England they are now called "Preceptories."

Engine turning

A method of producing delicate tracery decoration on the surface of articles by machine.  A stationary steel-pointed graver incises fine lines on the article, which is held in a movable frame that has another pointed tool on the opposite side to the article, in contact with a cylinder with indentations. The latter tool follows the indentations and guides the article against the graver which reproduces the prescribed designs.  EXAMPLE


Cutting lines into sheet metal with sharp tools, a scorper or graver, by hand, metal being removed in the process.  A synonymous term is incised.   EXAMPLE


Enoch was the most notable saint of the antediluvian period, the seventh of the patriarchs, and the great-grandfather of Noah.  He is reported to have "walked with God" for three hundred years, and it is said that he did not die a natural death, but was momentarily translated into the place where God is.  His Hebrew name was Henoch, signifying to initiate and to instruct.  Traditions and legends of some of the higher degrees of Freemasonry present the claim that Freemasonry in its science of morality and ethics and in its emblematic and symbolic mysteries existed as a Craft in the days of the patriarchs, and in the times of antiquity.  The great Masonic "Legend of Enoch," sustains this claim in a most remarkable way.  According to this legend Enoch initiated and promoted a "Craft" in which the sublimest truths of Freemasonry were taught by emblems and symbols and through mystics and mysteries.  These were preserved in an underground temple which was discovered in excavations long after the great Deluge.  Many Oriental writers abound in traditional stories which sustain the great Masonic "Legend of Enoch."

Entered Apprentice

As an Entered Apprentice, the Mason was taught those elementary instructions which were to fit him for further advancement in his profession, just as the youth is supplied with that rudimentary education which is to prepare him for entering on the active duties of life; as a Fellow Craft, he is directed to continue his investigations in the science of the Institution, and to labor diligently in the tasks it prescribes, just as the man is required to enlarge his mind by the acquisition of new ideas, and to extend his usefulness to his fellow creatures; but, as a Master Mason, he is taught the last, the most important, and the most necessary of truths, that having been faithful to all his trusts, he is at last to die, and to receive the reward of his fidelity.

Envy - resentful begrudging

Envy is regarded as the meanest of vices by Freemasonry.  Every Mason is solemnly charged; "None shall discover envy at the prosperity of a brother," and warnings against this vicious temper constantly appear throughout all the degrees.  Biblical injunctions against envy enforced in Masonic ritual... Prov. 14:30 -  Rom. 13:13 -  1Pet. 2:1


Electroplate on Britannia metal.


Electroplate on copper.


Electroplate on nickel silver.


Electroplate on white metal.


Equality is the very essence of Freemasonry; no matter what their rank in life may be, when in the Lodge all are brothers, sons in common of a Heavenly Father.  The level is the symbol of equality among Masons; "we meet on the level."


A heraldic term for a shield (Latin: scutum) with armorial bearings.  EXAMPLE

Esoteric Masonry

The secret portion of Masonry which is hidden in emblems, symbols, allegories, legends, and other forms of mystery, and are wholly apart from monitoral teachings.


Surface decoration bitten in with acid.  The untreated area is coated with wax to resist the acid. Usually associated with printing, but also used on glass and occasionally metalwork.   EXAMPLE

Eternal Life

The doctrine of eternal life permeates all the Mysteries of Freemasonry; it is the fundamental basis of the Third Degree in a very special emphasis.  Co-equal with emphasis on this tenet of Masonic Faith is belief in the future resurrection of the body.  Hence Masons believe in an eternal heaven for the redeemed of the Lord.  Biblical teachings on the subject of Eternal Life... Matt. 25:46 -  John 6:54


An evergreen plant is a symbol of the immortality of the soul.  The ancients, therefore, as well as the moderns, planted evergreens at the heads of graves.  Freemasons wear evergreens at the funerals of their brethren, and cast them into the grave.  The acacia is the plant which should be used on these occasions, but where it cannot be obtained, some other evergreen plant, especially the cedar, is used, as a substitute.   Rom. 2:7


A candidate is said to be exalted, when he receives the Degree of Holy Royal Arch, the seventh in American Masonry.  Exalted means elevated or lifted up, and is applicable both to a peculiar ceremony of the degree, and to the fact that this degree, in the Rite in which it is practiced, constitutes the summit of ancient Masonry.  The rising of the sun of spring from his wintry sleep into the glory of the vernal equinox was called by the old sun-worshipers his "exaltation"; and the Fathers of the Church afterward applied the same term to the resurrection of Christ.  St. Athanasius says that by the expression, "God hath exalted him," St. Paul meant the resurrection.  Exaltation, therefore, technically means a rising from a lower to a higher sphere, and in Royal Arch Masonry may be supposed to refer to the being lifted up out of the first temple of this life into the second temple of the future life.  The candidate is raised in the Master's Degree, he is exalted in the Royal Arch.  In both the symbolic idea is the same.

Examination of Candidates

In Esoteric Freemasonry, the rituals and ceremonies of the different degrees of Symbolic Masonry, are conferred in emblems, symbols, allegories, legends, and must be committed to memory by the candidate following each degree and before advancing to the succeeding degree.  Instructions are given the candidate in private by some brother.  From time immemorial it has been required that before accepting a candidate for the advancing degrees he must pass a credible examination on the work of the previous degree in open Lodge.  The necessity for an adequate comprehension of the mysteries of each degree before passing to the succeeding degree, of proficiency in the work through which the candidate has already passed, is absolutely essential.


Q.  What is the meaning of this word and how recorded in the Bible? 

A.  Recorded in the Bible as "cut off!" Temporary suspension.  Further temporary suspension. Final cutting off.  Psalms 37:9


A broad category of non-money, non-legal tender numismatic items, including tokens and unofficial medals and badges.  An exonumist is a specialist in exonumia.


Q.  What is the difference between esoteric and exoteric?

A.  Esoteric, the unwritten ritualistic work designed for and understood by the specially initiated alone.  Exoteric, that part suitable for the uninitiated public.

Extended Wings of the Cherubim

The extended wings of the Cherubim in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and in the Temple were recognized as a symbol of Jehovah's presence and protection.  This expression in the ceremonies of the Royal Master is intended to teach symbolically that he who comes to ask and to seek Divine Truth should begin by placing himself under the protection of Jehovah who is alone the source of Truth.  See Cherubim.


This was the name of the stone in the neighborhood of king Saul's residence beyond which the falling of Jonathan's arrow warned David of danger, and was the parting place of these two most intimate friends.  Hence its use in the honorary degree called the "Mason's wife and daughter."  Scene of the incident used symbolically... 1 Sam. 20:19

Ezra - help; or the helper

Of what does the book of Ezra give an account?  Of the return of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon and the rebuilding of their ruined temple.  This work was carried out with difficulty because of the enmity of some of their neighbors and the lack of a spiritual religion among many of the Jews. 


Click here to return to the Glossary Index




Museum Home Page     Phoenixmasonry Home Page

Copyrighted © 1999 - 2019   Phoenixmasonry, Inc.      The Fine Print