From Albert C. Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences.
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:. and A:. Ancient and Accepted.
A:. and A:. R :. Ancient and Accepted Rite as used in England.
A:.A:.S:.R:. Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
A:. and P:. R :. Ancient and Primitive Rite.
A:. C:. Anno Coadio. 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.
Bn:. 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:.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:. Frére. 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.:R.: Frater, latin for brother
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.
G:.Com:. Grand Commandery; Grand Commander.
G:.D:. Grand Deacon.
G:.D:.C:. Grand Director of Ceremonies.
G:.E:. Grand Encampment; Grand Bast; 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 Secretory; 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.
I:.N:.R:.I:. Jesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudoeorum. 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:. Kadash, Knight of Kadosh
K:.H:.S:. Knight of the Holy Sepulcher
K:.M:. Knight of Malta
K:.S:. King Salomon (Suleiman)
K:.T:. Knights Templar; Knight Templar. Prefixed to the signature of a Knights Templar or a member of the A. and A. Scottish Rite below the Thirty-third Degree.
L:. Lodge. Lehrling, the German for Apprentice
L:.R:. Lonon 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. Maitre, 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:. Mére Loge. French, meaning Mother Lodge.
M:.M:. Master Mason. Mois Maçonnique. French, meaning Masonic Month. March 18 the first Masonic month among French Freemasons. Meister Maurer. German, meaning Master Mason.
M:.P:.S:. Most Puissant Sovereign.
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’oubiez 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.
O:.T:.O:. Ordo Templi Orientis
P:. Past; Prelate; Prefect; Prior.
P:.G:.C:.K:.T:. Prefixed to the signature of a Grand or Past Grand Commander of Knights Templar or a Mason of the Thirty-third Degree in the Scottish Rite.
P:.G:.M:.K:.T:. (see below) Prefixed to the signature of a Grand or Past Grand Master of Knights Templar and the Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
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:.O:.T:.S:. Parting on the Square
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:.t:. Rose Croiz. Appended to the signature of one having that degree.
R:.E:. Right Eminent.
R:.E:.A:.et A:.Rite Ecossaise Ancien et Accepte. French, meaning Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
R:.F:. Respectable Free. French, meaning Worshipful Brother.
R:.L:. 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
Sum:. Surveillant. French, meaning Warden.
T:.C:.F:. Tres Cher Frére. French, meaning Very Dear Brother.
T:.G:.A:.O:.T:.U:. The Grand Architect of the Universe.
T:.S:. Tres 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:. Venerable Frére. French, meaning Worshipful Brother.
V:.I:.T:.R:.I:.O:.L:. “VISITA INTERIORA TERRAE RECTIFICANDO INVENIES OCCULTUM LAPIDEM”, which, semi-translated into English means: “VISIT THE INTERIOR OF THE EARTH, THROUGH RECTIFICATION YOU SHALL FIND THE HIDDEN STONE.” More on the Chamber of Reflection.
V:.L:. Vraie Lumiere. French, meaning True Light
V:.S:.L:. Volume of the Sacred Law.
V:.W:. Very Worshipful
W:.M:. Worshipful Master. Wurdiger Meister, in German, meaning Worshipful Master.
More on Masonic Symbols and Symbolism.