The Meaning of “Ruffian” in Masonic Ritual
The Meaning of “Ruffian” in Masonic Ritual

The Meaning of “Ruffian” in Masonic Ritual

Ruffian Meaning

By Paul R. Swanson, 32° KCCH

Are there hidden meanings being conveyed within the names of the three ruffians?

The material for this short topic is drawn from A Brother Asks, Volume 1, Uncommon Discourses about Hiram, by John S. Nagy.

It was just over two hundred years ago that the ruffians’ names first appeared in print, in a book published in London in 1760. Before that, no publicly disclosed English writings reflected any ruffian names, and often they were just called assassins.

Using a computer translator and lots of trial-and-error Coach Nagy discovered that the names were not conventional French of today, but a holdover version only used in Canada, in the providence of Quebec.

The 3 ruffians’ names are from the Joual French dialect used in Quebec, which originates from northern France and is predominately old French in origin.

I want it!

I want the word!

I want to see it! Or I want the light!

The 3 ruffians were not willing to finish their work so that they could be entitled to the master’s word.

Ruff: an archaic term meaning to “trump”; not follow suit; skip over what is usually necessary and required to accomplish desired ends.


Three Blind Men

Three Blind Men

See How They Ruff,

She How they Ruff!

They Ruffed right after

The Master’s Word.

And Misunderstood What

Remained Unheard.

Have you ever Seen

Such Ignorance Assured

As Three Blind Men?