Hail or Hale

This word is used among Freemasons with two very different significations.

  1. When addressed as an inquiry to a visiting Brother it has the same import as that in which it is used under like circumstances by mariners. Thus: "Whence do you hail?" that is, "Of what Lodge are you a member?" Used in this sense, it comes from the Saxon term of salutation hael, and should be spelled hail.
  2. Its second use is confined to what Freemasons understand by the tie, and in this sense it signifies to conceal, being derived from the Saxon word helan, to hide, the e being pronounced in Anglo-Saxon as a in the word fate. By the rules of etymology, it should be written hale, but is usually spelled hele.

This page is adapted from the Glossary at Phoenixmasonry — Used with permission.

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