• synonyms


[free-mey-suh n, free-mey-]
  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.
    1. one of a class of skilled stoneworkers of the Middle Ages, possessing secret signs and passwords.
    2. a member of a society composed of such workers, which also included honorary members (accepted masons) not connected with the building trades.
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Origin of Freemason

First recorded in 1350–1400, Freemason is from the Middle English word fremason. See free, mason
Related formsfree·ma·son·ic [free-muh-son-ik] /ˌfri məˈsɒn ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for freemason

Historical Examples

  • Tom Platt visited her, because, he said, the dead man was his brother as a Freemason.

    "Captains Courageous"

    Rudyard Kipling

  • He lived for many years on Brighton Street, and was a Freemason.

    Tea Leaves


  • "But he must be a Freemason," said he, referring to the abbe whom he had met that evening.

    War and Peace

    Leo Tolstoy

  • He had never, so far as came to my knowledge, been a freemason.

  • My aunt was surprised and hoped it was not some Freemason affair.


    James Joyce

British Dictionary definitions for freemason


  1. 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
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Derived Formsfreemasonic (ˌfriːməˈsɒnɪk), adjective


  1. a member of the widespread secret order, constituted in London in 1717, of Free and Accepted Masons, pledged to brotherly love, faith, and charitySometimes shortened to: Mason
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Derived FormsFreemasonic (ˌfriːməˈsɒnɪk), adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for 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].

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper