[Ads-l] The _third degree_

Peter Morris peter_morris_1 at BLUEYONDER.CO.UK
Sat Oct 22 20:00:01 EDT 2016

As far as I know, the phrase comes from Freemasonry.

To become a full member of a lodge, a candidate must pass
through three degrees. The third degree is supposedly an ordeal.
The candidate faces intense questioning regarding his charcacter,
suitability for membership, and his knowlegde of the symbols of
Freemasonry. He also must go through a ritual where they reenact 
the murder of one of the supposed founders of Freemasonry. The 
candidate plays the victim. During the ritual he is beaten and choked.

These days it's all done gently, with no actual pain or injuries inflicted.
A hundred years ago, it may have been a lot rougher. 

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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