Monday, February 13, 2017

Word of the Week - Frank

Another Word of the Week request! (Love those--keep 'em coming!) This week for frank as an adjective--made by someone of that name. ;-)

Frank is taken directly from the people group, the Franks, who took over Gaul in the Middle Ages and named it for themselves (hence, France). At this time in history, you were either free, captive, or slave--so in this area, the only free people were the invaders, the conquerors. The Franks. Therefore, frank came to mean free.

By about 1300, the word had entered English, still carrying the meaning given it by the tribal group in Europe--"free, liberal, generous."

So if you want to be frank with someone, or to speak frankly, it's all because a group of people who called themselves the Franks invaded Gaul in the 400s, defeating the Huns and taking over part of what had recently been the Roman empire.

Side note on Paris--in the Roman days, there was a fort along the Seine called Lutetia Parisiorium. When one of the Frankish kings, Clovis, decided he would unite all the tribes into one nation, this is where he set up his capitol in 481. He simply shortened the Roman name of the fort to Paris and called it his city--and it's been the capital of France ever since!


  1. Ah, thanks.
    There is an alliteration in German, "frank und frei" (frank and free), basically meaning "frankly". I always thought those words were just chosen because they are close in their sound. Now I know that they are also very close in their meaning.

    Have a good week!

  2. Thanks for answering my question Roseanna! There was more history behind it than I thought. Hope you don't mind ,but I do have another word request; Could you find out the history behind the use of the word dickens in such phrases as full of the dickens or he's such a little dickens ? Thanks again Roseanna!