Richard H. Ryder, 2017
According to Merriam-Webster, a cowan is one who is not a Freemason or pretends to be one.
Albert G. Mackey, in The Lexicon of Freemasonry, indicates it is strictly a Masonic term that is derived from the Greek word kuon, a dog. “In the early days of the church, when the mysteries of religion were communicated only to initiates, the infidels and unbaptized were called ‘dogs’, a term probably suggested by such passages of scripture as Matt, vii. 6, ‘Give not that which is holy unto the dogs’ ’’. It is thought that the Freemasons corrupted the term into cowan.
MacKay also states that “Another interpretation of this term as a result of later investigation proves it to be a Stone Mason capable of building only dry walls”.