Abbreviations of technical terms or of official titles are of very extensive use in Freemasonry. They were, however, but rarely employed in the earlier Masonic publications. For instance, not one is to be found in the first edition of Anderson’s Constitutions. Within a comparatively recent period they have greatly increased, especially among French writers, and a familiarity with them is therefore essentially necessary to the Masonic student.
Frequently, among English and always among French authors, a Masonic abbreviation is distinguished by three points,∴ in a triangular form following the letter, which peculiar mark was first used, according to Ragon, on the 12th of August, 1774, by the Grand Orient of France, in an address to its subordinates. No authoritative explanation of the meaning of these points has been given, but they may be supposed to refer to the three lights around the altar, or perhaps more generally to the number three, and to the triangle, both important symbols in the Masonic system.
A representative list of abbreviations is given, and these will serve as a guide to the common practice, but the tendency to use such conveniences is limited only by personal taste governed by the familiarity of the Brethren using them with one another. This acquaintance may permit the mutual use of abbreviations little known elsewhere. All that can be done is to offer such examples as will be helpful in explaining the usual custom and to suggest the manner in which the abbreviations are employed. With this knowledge a Freemason can ascertain the meaning of other abbreviations he may find in his Masonic reading.
Before proceeding to give a list of the principal abbreviations, it may be observed that the doubling of a letter is intended to express the plural of that word of which the single letter is the abbreviation. Thus, in French, F∴, signifies Frére, or Brother, and FF∴ Fréres, or Brothers. And in English, L∴ is sometimes used to denote Lodge, and LL∴ to denote Lodges. This remark is made once for all, because we have not deemed it necessary to augment the size of the list of abbreviations by inserting these plurals. If the reader finds S∴ G∴ I∴ to signify Sovereign Grand Inspector, he will be at no loss to know that SS∴ GG∴ II∴ must denote Sovereign Grand Inspectors.
A∴ & A∴ Ancient and Accepted.
A∴ & A∴ R∴ Ancient and Accepted Rite as used in England.
A∴ & A∴ S∴ R∴ Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
A∴ & P∴ R∴ Ancient and Primitive Rite.
A∴ C∴ Anno Cadio [sometimes Anno Coadio - Ed. 2010]. Latin, meaning the Year of Destruction; referring to the year 1314 in Knights Templar history.
A∴ D∴ Anno Domini. Latin, meaning Year of Our Lord.
A∴ Dep∴ Anno Depositionis. Latin, meaning In the Year of the Deposit. The date is used by Royal and Select Masters.
A∴ F∴ M∴ Ancient Freemasons.
A∴ F∴ & A∴ M∴ Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.
A∴ H∴ Anno Hebraico. Latin, meaning Hebrew Year.
A∴ Inv∴ Anno Inventionis. Latin, meaning In the Year of the Discovery. The date used by Royal Arch Masons.
A∴ L∴ Anno Lucis. Latin, meaning In the Year of Light. The date used by Ancient Craft Freemasons.
A∴ L∴ G∴ D∴ G∴ A∴ D∴ L∴ U∴ A la Gloire du Grand Architecte de l’Universe. French, meaning To the Glory of the Grand Architect of the Universe. The usual caption of French Masonic documents.
A∴ L’O∴ A l’Orient. French, meaning At the East. The Location or seat of the Lodge.
A∴ M∴ Anno Mundi. Latin, meaning In the Year of the World. The date used in the Ancient and Accepted Rite.
A∴ O∴ Anno Ordinis. Latin, meaning In the Year of the Order. The date used by Knights Templar.
A∴ Q∴ C∴ Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, the Latin name for the printed reports of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, London.
A∴ V∴ L∴ An du Vraie Lumiére. French, meaning Year of the True Light.
A∴ V∴ T∴ O∴ S∴ A∴ G∴ Ad Universi Terrarum Orbis Summi Architecti Gloriam. Latin, meaning To the glory of the Grand Architect of the Universe.
A∴ Y∴ M∴ Ancient York Masons or Ancient York Masonry.
B∴ Bruder. German, meaning Brother.
B∴ A∴ Buisson Ardent. French, meaning Burning Bush.
B∴ B∴ Burning Bush.
B’n∴ Brudern. German, meaning Brethren.
Comp∴ Companion. Used by Brethren of the Royal Arch.
C∴ C∴ Celestial Canopy.
C∴ H∴ Captain of the Host.
D∴ A∴ F∴ Due and Ancient Form.
D∴ D∴ G∴ M∴ Sometimes abbreviated Dis∴ D∴ G∴ M∴ District Deputy Grand Master.
D∴ G∴ B∴ A∴ W∴ Der Grosse Baumeister aller Welten. German, meaning The Grand Architect of all Worlds.
D∴ G∴ G∴ H∴ P∴ Deputy General Grand High Priest.
D∴ G∴ H∴ P∴ Deputy Grand High Priest.
D∴ G∴ M∴ Deputy Grand Master.
D∴M∴J∴ Deus Meumque Jus. Latin, meaning God and my right.
D∴ Prov∴ G∴ M∴ Deputy Provincial Grand Master.
Deg∴ Degree or Degrees. Another way is as in 33°, meaning Thirty-Third Degree.
E∴ Eminent; Excellent; also East.
E∴ A∴ Entered Apprentice. Sometimes abbreviated E∴A∴P∴
E∴ C∴ Excellent Companion.
Ec∴ Ecossaise. French, meaning Scottish; belonging to the Scottish Rite.
E∴ G∴ C∴ Eminent Grand Commander.
E∴ G∴ M∴ Early Grand Master. A central Authority had been made to control the Knights Templar of Ireland independently of the Grand Lodge and at the very first meeting of the Lodge “at High Noon of St. John.” 1779, the Worshipful Master appended to his name the letters E. G. M.,that is, Early Grand Master. There was then no governing body in Freemasonry except the Grand Lodge (see “Templar Legends,” by Brother W. J. Chetwode Crawley, Transactions, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, 1913, volume xxvi).
E∴ O∴ L∴ Ex Oriente Lux. Latin, meaning Out of the East comes Light.
E∴ V∴ Era Vulgus. Latin, meaning Common Era, also stands for Ere Vulgaire, French, meaning Vulgar Era; Year of the Lord.
F∴ Frère. French, meaning Brother.
F∴ A∴ M∴ Free and Accepted Masons.
F∴ E∴ R∴ T∴ According to the statutes of the United Orders of the Temple and Saint John of Jerusalem, etc., the standard of Saint John is described as gules, on a Cross Argent, the Agnus Dei-meaning Red on a Silver Cross with a representation of the Lamb of God – with the letters F.E.R.T. These letters are the initials of the words of the motto Fortitudine Ejus Rhodum tenuit, meaning By his courage he held Rhodes. Brother Gordon P. G. Hills, Transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, 1914, volume xxvii page 233, says, “I suppose it refers to the gallant defense by the Grand Master in 1522, when however, the Island was surrendered, although the garrison were permitted to depart with the honors of war.” A writer in the Pall Mall Gazette, June 4, 1901, states that the legend appears on the coinage of Louis of Savoy in 1301 and on that of Thomas in 1233.
F∴ C∴ Fellow Craft.
F∴ M∴ Freemason.
G∴ Grand. Sometimes read as Great; Geometry. Also has another meaning well known to the Craft.
G∴ A∴ O∴ T∴ U∴ Grand Architect of the Universe.
G∴ A∴ S∴ Grand Annual Sojourn.
G∴ C∴ Grand Chapter; Grand Council; Grand Cross; Grand Commander; Grand Chaplain; Grand Conclave; Grand Conductor; Grand Chancellor.
G∴ C∴ G∴ Grand Captain General; Grand Captain of the Guard.
G∴ C∴ H∴ Grand Captain of the Host; Grand Chapter of Herodom [likely a misprint of Grand Chapter of Heredom, see H∴ R∴ D∴ M∴ below, and the G∴ C∴ H∴ entry in New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, by Arthur Edward Waite - Ed. 2010].
G∴ Com∴ Grand Commandery; Grand Commander.
G∴ D∴ Grand Deacon.
G∴ D∴ C∴ Grand Director of Ceremonies.
G∴ E∴ Grand Encampment; Grand East; Grand Ezra.
G∴ J∴ W∴ Grand Junior Warden.
G∴ G∴ C∴ General Grand Chapter.
G∴ G∴ H∴ P∴ General Grand High Priest.
G∴ G∴ K∴ General Grand King.
G∴ G∴ M∴ F∴ V∴ General Grand Master of the First Veil.
G∴ G∴ S∴ General Grand Scribe.
G∴ G∴ T∴ General Grand Treasurer.
G∴ H∴ P∴ Grand High Priest.
G∴ K∴ Grand King.
G∴ L∴ Grand Lodge. Grande Loge, in French. Grosse Loge, in German.
G∴ M∴ Grand Master; Grand Marshal; Grand Monarch.
G∴ N∴ Grand Nehemiah.
G∴ O∴ Grand Orient; Grand Organist.
G∴ P∴ Grand Pursuivant; Grand Prior; Grand Prelate; Grand Preceptor; Grand Preceptory; Grand Patron; Grand Priory; Grand Patriarch; Grand Principal.
G∴ P∴ S∴ Grand Principal Sojourner.
G∴ R∴ Grand Registrar; Grand Recorder.
G∴ R∴ A∴ C∴ Grand Royal Arch Chapter.
G∴S∴ Grand Scribe; Grand Secretary; Grand Steward.
G∴ S∴ B∴ Grand Sword Bearer; Grand Sword Bearer.
G∴ S∴ E∴ Grand Scribe Ezra.
G∴ S∴ N∴ Grand Scribe Nehemiah.
G∴ S∴ W∴ Grand Senior Warden.
G∴ T∴ Grand Treasurer; Grand Tyler.
H∴ A∴ B∴ Hiram Abif.
H∴ E∴ Holy Empire.
H∴ J∴ Heilige Johannes. German, meaning Holy Saint John.
H∴ K∴ T∴ Hiram, King of Tyre.
H∴ R∴ D∴ M∴ Heredom.
I∴ N∴ R∴ I∴ Jesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudæorum [(Iudaeorum). Latin inscription IESVS·NAZARENVS·REX·IVDÆORVM - Ed. 2010]. Latin, meaning Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. The Letters are also the initials of a significant sentence in Latin, namely, Igne Natura Renovatur Integra, meaning By fire nature is perfectly renewed.
I∴ P∴ M∴ Immediate Past Master. English title of an official last promoted from the chair.
I∴ T∴ N∴ O∴ T∴ G∴ A∴ O∴ T∴ U∴ In the Name of the Grand Architect of the Universe. Often forming the caption of Masonic documents.
J∴ W∴ Junior Warden.
K∴ E∴ P∴ Knight of the Eagle and Pelican.
K∴ H∴ Kadosh, Knight of Kadosh.
K∴ H∴ S∴ Knight of the Holy Sepulcher.
K∴ M∴ Knight of Malta.
K∴S∴ King Solomon [alternative spelling, Suleiman. Hebrew: שְׁלֹמֹה, Modern Shlomo, Tiberian Šəlōmō, Arabic: سليمان Sulaymān; Turkish: Süleyman; Greek: Σολομών Solomōn; Latin: Salomon - Ed. 2010]
K∴ T∴ Knights Templar; Knight Templar.
L∴ Lodge. Lehrling, the German for Apprentice.
L∴ R∴ London Rank. A distinction introduced in England in 1908.
L∴ V∴ X∴ Lux Latin, meaning Light.
M∴ Mason; Masonry; Marshal; Mark; Minister; Master. Meister, in German. Maître, in French.
M∴ C∴ Middle Chamber.
M∴ E∴ Most Eminent; Most Excellent.
M∴ E∴ G∴ H∴ P∴ Most Excellent Grand High Priest.
M∴ E∴ G∴ M∴ Most Eminent Grand Master (of Knights Templar).
M∴ E∴ M∴ Most Excellent Master.
M∴ E∴ Z∴ Most Excellent Zerubbabel.
M∴ K∴ G∴ Maurer Kunst Geselle. German, meaning Fellow Craft.
M∴ L∴ Maurer Lehrling. German, meaning Entered Apprentice.
M∴ L∴ Mère Loge. French, meaning Mother Lodge.
M∴ M∴ Master Mason. Mois Maçonnique. French, meaning Masonic Month. March is the first Masonic month among French Freemasons. Meister Maurer, German, meaning Master Mason.
M∴ P∴ S∴ Most Puissant Sovereign.
M∴ W∴ Most Worshipful.
M∴ W∴ G∴ M∴ Most Worshipful Grand Master; Most Worthy Grand Matron.
M∴ W∴ G∴ P∴ Most Worthy Grand Patron.
M∴ W∴ M∴ Most Wise Master.
M∴ W∴ S∴ Most Wise Sovereign.
N∴ E∴ C∴ North-east Corner.
N’o∴ P∴ V∴ D∴ M∴ N’oubliez pas vos décorations Maçonniques. French, meaning Do not forget your Masonic regalia, a phrase used in France on the corner of a summons.
O∴ A∴ C∴ Ordo ab Chao. Latin, meaning Order out of Chaos.
P∴ Past; Prelate; Prefect; Prior.
P∴ C∴ W∴ Principal Conductor of the Work.
P∴ G∴ M∴ Past Grand Master; Past Grand Matron.
P∴ J∴ Prince of Jerusalem.
P∴ K∴ Past King.
P∴ M∴ Past Master.
P∴ S∴ Principal Sojourner.
Pro∴ G∴ M∴ Pro-Grand Master.
Prov∴ G∴ M∴ Provincial Grand Master.
R∴ A∴ Royal Arch; Royal Art.
R∴ A∴ C∴ Royal Arch Captain; Royal Arch Chapter.
R∴ A∴ M∴ Royal Arch Mason; Royal Arch Masonry; Royal Ark Mariner.
R∴ C∴ or R∴ †∴ Rose Croix. Appended to the signature of one having that degree [Note: † is the dagger symbol in typography and has different forms/styles in various fonts - Ed. 2010].
R∴ E∴ Right Eminent.
R∴ E∴ A∴ et A∴ Rite Écossais Ancien Et Accepté. French, meaning Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
R∴ F∴ Respectable Frère. French, meaning Worshipful Brother.
R∴ L∴ or R∴ ∴ Respectable Loge. French, meaning Worshipful Lodge.
R∴ S∴ Y∴ C∴ S∴ Rosy Cross (in the Royal order of Scotland).
R∴ W∴ Right Worshipful.
R∴ W∴ M∴ Right Worshipful Master.
S∴ Scribe; Sentinel; Seneschal; Sponsor.
S∴ C∴ Supreme Council.
S∴ G∴ D∴ Senior Grand Deacon.
S∴ G∴ I∴ G∴ Sovereign Grand Inspector General.
S∴ G∴ W∴ Senior Grand Warden.
S∴ M∴ Secret Master; Substitute Master; Select Master; Secret Monitor; Sovereign Master; Supreme Master; Supreme Magus.
S∴ O∴ Senior Overseer.
S∴ P∴ R∴ S∴ Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret.
S∴ S∴ Sanctum Sanctorum. Latin, meaning Holy of Holies. Formerly also used for Sovereign of Sovereigns.
S∴ S∴ M∴ Senior Substitute Magus.
S∴ S∴ S∴ The initials of the Latin word Salutem, meaning Greeting, repeated thrice and also found similarly in the French, Trois Fois Salut, meaning Thrice Greeting. A common caption to French Masonic circulars or letters.
S∴ W∴ Senior Warden.
Soc∴ Ros∴ Societas Rosicruciana.
Surv∴ Surveillant. French, meaning Warden.
T∴ C∴ F∴ Tres Cher Frère. French, meaning Very Dear Brother.
T∴ G∴ A∴ O∴ T∴ U∴ The Grand Architect of the Universe.
T∴ S∴ Très Sage. Meaning Very Wise, addressed to the presiding officer of French Rite.
U∴ D∴ Under Dispensation.
V∴ or Ven∴ Venerable. French, meaning Worshipful.
V∴ D∴ B∴ Very Dear Brother.
V∴ D∴ S∴ A∴ Veut Dieu Saint Amour, or Vult Dei Sanctus Animus. A formula used by Knights Templar. The expression Veut Dieu Saint Amour means literally, Wishes God Holy Love, which in correct English might be expressed by Thus wishes God (who is) holy love. Vult Dei Sanctus Animus is the Latin Version of the same phrase. Only in this case God is in the genitive case and therefore the exact translation would be The holy spirit of God wishes or Thus wishes God’s holy spirit.
V∴ E∴ Viceroy Eusebius; Very Eminent.
V∴ F∴ Vénérable Frère. French, meaning Worshipful Brother.
V∴L∴ Vraie Lumière. French, meaning True Light.
V∴ S∴ L∴ Volume of the Sacred Law.
V∴ W∴ Very Worshipful.
W∴M∴ Worshipful Master. Würdiger Meister, in German, meaning Worshipful Master.
An equilateral triangle is an emblem of the Trinity and also of the Chapter in Royal Arch Masonry.
The Swastika or Fylfot or Jaina Cross, as it bears all three names which are explained else where, has been used as a part of the signatures of members of Hermetic bodies and is then called the Hermetic Cross, which is attached to documents. The position of such a Cross in relation to the signature and the color of the ink indicates the rank of the signer and these particulars are subject to change.
This combination of the Maltese Cross and the equilateral triangle is not only sometimes found as a designation for the Knight of Rose Cross but was used as early as 1725 to mean a reference to a Lodge of Saint John.
The supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, for the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States, has on page 36 of the book entitled Information for Bodies and Officers (this being a part of the report of the Committee on Rituals and Ritualistic Matters in the Proceedings of 1870, pages 64, 65), the following illustrated Instructions :
The Sovereign Grand Commander shall prefix the triple cross, in red ink, to his signature, thus:-
A S∴ G∴ I∴ G∴ shall prefix the double cross, in red ink, to his signature, thus:-
A S∴ P∴ R∴ S∴ shall prefix the double cross, in red ink, to his signature, thus:-
A Knight of the Rose Croix shall sign thus (with symbols in red ink):-
The Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, has in the Statutes as amended to October, 1921, Article xiv, section 3, the following illustrated instructions: The distinctive symbol to be used before the signature of the Sov∴ Gr∴ Commander is a Cross with three cross-bars, near that extremities of which and of the shaft are small cross-bars, the signature to be followed by a rayed equilateral triangle enclosing the figures 33 (violet ink to be used). The Symbol Cross to precede the signature of a Sov∴ Gr∴ Insp∴ General has two cross-bars near the extremities of which and of the shaft are small cross-bars, the signature to be followed by a rayed equilateral triangle enclosing the figures 33 (purple ink to be used); the title to be written Sov∴ Gr∴ Insp∴ Genl∴ The Symbol Cross to precede the signature of an Inspector Honorary is a plain cross with two crossbars (no crossbars at the extremities), followed by a rayed equilateral triangle enclosing the figures 33, the title to be written Insp∴ Genl∴ Hon∴ (crimson ink to be used). The rest of the symbols to precede signatures and titles to remain the same as given in the present edition of the Statutes (the ink to be red). In each of the above the cross-bar are to be horizontal and except where shown differently the shaft is inclined to the right to correspond with the angle of the strokes of slanting writing. The shafts of the crosses used by the Court of Honor are vertical, the ends of the shaft and cross-bars being provided with a cross-bar at the extremities. For the Rose Croix the symbol is a Passion Cross set on the apex of a pyramid or equatorial triangle.
Sov∴ Grand Commander
Sov∴ Grand Insp∴ Gen∴
Insp∴ Gen∴ Honorary
G………………………. H………………………. 32°
I………………………. J………………………. 32°
Kt∴ Com∴ C∴ of Hon∴
K………………………. L………………………. 32°
M∴ R∴ S∴
Eques à…………………………. R∴