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Masons use the word cowans. First appearing in the minutes of 16th century scottish operative lodges. Cowans to indicate those who are outside masonry. Not a part of us. Cowans have been cast as doing inferior work because they did not perform in the traditional manner. Men engaged in operative masonry without having been initiated or served an apprenticeship where referred to as cowans. Today the word is rarely used outside of its masonic context. Masons use it in its original operative sense to refer to those outside the fraternity.