Mason Or Freemason: Which Is Correct?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Todd E. Creason

I overheard a long conversation recently on which term was appropriate to use--Mason or Freemason.  I decided to look into it.

Both the term "Mason" and "Freemason" are used today, but "Mason" is more commonly used.  According to an article I read on Pietre-Stones, the first use of the term Freemasons appeared in a London publication in 1376 as two words Free Masons.  During the 15th and 16th centuries the term Mason and Freemason were used interchangeably, however, the term "Mason" was most often used to denote all workers in stone, and "Freemasons" were those that crafted and set the stones in a structure.

What's correct today?  There's a good chance you're either a F. & A.M. or A.F.& A.M. and were raised a Master Mason. Grand Lodges identify themselves as "Masons."  As we were all raised Master Masons, that's probably the most acceptable term.  However, I never found anything to indicated that the use of the term "Freemason" was incorrect.

So unless you're told by your jurisdiction otherwise, I think it's up to you whether you're a "Mason" or a "Freemason."   I tend to prefer "Freemason."  I sure hope I'm not wrong--if I am, I'll have to rename three of my books.


Todd E. Creason, 33° is the author of several books including the Famous American Freemasons series, and started The Midnight Freemason blog in 2007. Todd is the Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and a member of both the Scottish Rite, and York Rite. He's also a member of the Ansar Shrine (IL) and Charter President of the Illini High Twelve in Champaign-Urbana (IL)


  1. Good post, and very interesting.

    I also do not believe that either usage is wrong. However, generally I use "Masons" when I am talking among other Masons, or with someone that I am sure has a pretty good idea what Masons and what the Order is.

    If I am talking with someone that isn't a Brother, or doesn't have too much knowledge about Freemasonry, I will usually use the term "Freemasons". Lol just because I think that it sounds a bit more interesting (cooler actually lol) and to avoid accidentally getting them to think I am talking about operative masonry.

    Lol, just my $.02 on how I use both terms :) Thanks for looking into this and bringing it up.

  2. You're right--the term Freemason is "cooler." I do the same thing. :-)

  3. As all lodge rituals tend to vary in one way or another, and as I have yet to attend an Entered Apprentice initiation I am unaware of the particulars of any Lodge works, however in the Canadian Craft...Is Canadian Craft proper? Anyway without giving too much away to the non initiate Freemason is a prominent word throughout the entire ritual, in fact six of the questions put to the Entered Apprentice end with the word Freemason and one of the answers end with Freemasonry. I don't know, maybe I haven't been around long enough, but I personally tend to gravitate more to the use of the word Freemason when speaking of the Fraternity. On the lighter side if your on a construction site I find it helps to define where the conversation is going, use the word Mason or Master Mason on a construction site without Free as a prefix, and you just might find yourself up a scaffold with mason blocks, a trowel and some mortar, how would you get yourself out of that one?

    1. You know, a "Master Mason" on the job site probably makes pretty good money. Of course that when that foundation you build falls over, you might have some explaining to do. :-)