Freemason

[ free-mey-suh n, free-mey- ]
/ ˈfriˌmeɪ sən, ˌfriˈmeɪ- /
|

noun

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.
(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.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for freemasons


British Dictionary definitions for freemasons

freemason

/ (ˈfriːˌmeɪsən) /

noun

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
Derived Formsfreemasonic (ˌfriːməˈsɒnɪk), adjective

Freemason

/ (ˈfriːˌmeɪsən) /

noun

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
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 freemasons

Freemason

n.

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].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for freemasons

Freemasons

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

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