- one of a class of skilled stoneworkers of the Middle Ages, possessing secret signs and passwords.
- a member of a society composed of such workers, which also included honorary members (accepted masons) not connected with the building trades.
Origin of Freemason
Examples from the Web for freemason
The question has been raised whether Wren was a Freemason or not.Sir Christopher Wren|Lucy Phillimore
His head-quarters at first were in what was called the Freemason's Tavern, on the north side of the village green.
The Freemason has no way of reaching any of the esoteric teachings of the Order except through the medium of a legend or a symbol.The Symbolism of Freemasonry|Albert G. Mackey
Brothers Inskip and Macdonald are not square on the Freemason question and are churchy.Birth of a Reformation|Andrew Byers
What oath is it necessary to take on being received a 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 [e.g. Klein] see a corruption of French 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 or lords [OED].