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Gender: Female Meaning of Frances: "from France or free man" Origin of Frances: Latin Frances's Popularity in 2017: #438

The name Frances is a girl's name of Latin origin meaning "from France or free man". Frances is ranked #438 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Old Lady Names and discussed in our forums with posts like "Names on NB that make you go WOW!".

From the experts:

Frances, a soft and gentle classic, last popular a hundred years ago, seems to be on the cusp of a possible revival, along with other such neglected quiet and serious names. It's been chosen in recent years by such stylish parents as Kate Spade and Amanda Peet (who nicknamed her daughter the spunky Frankie).

Frances was a favorite of the Tudor aristocracy after being given to Henry VII's granddaughter. Until the seventeenth century, the spellings Frances and Francis were used interchangeably for both sexes. St. Frances (Mother) Cabrini was the first American citizen to be canonized.

Some of the best known pop culture bearers of the name were known by diminutives—the Franny of J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey, Francie in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Frankie in A Member of the Wedding, Baby in Dirty Dancing, and Gidget in Gidget. Traditional nickname Fran feels a bit bland and Fanny, though possessing some eighteenth century charm, is unusable in Britain and Australia where it is slang for female genitalia.

Frances is the endearing badger in the childhood favorite Bedtime for Frances and other Frances books.

Among well known bearers are Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor in the Roosevelt era; actresses McDormand, Dee, Farmer, and Fisher; journalist Fitzgerald; and writers Burney and Hodgson Burnett.

Frances was the abandoned first name of Judy Garland, Dinah Shore, and Dale Evans.

Some attractive foreign versions are the increasingly popular Francesca, Francoise, Franca, Fanya, and Francine.

There has been some speculation that the naming of Pope Francis could have some ancillary effect on the popularity of sister name Frances.

Find other names based on Frances using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Frances

Saint Frances of Rome, Italian mystic and oblate
Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk, mother of Lady Jane Grey
Frances Newton, Lady Cobham, Lady of the Bedchamber to England's Queen Elizabeth I
Frances Radclyffe, Countess of Sussex, Lady of the Bedchamber to England's Queen Elizabeth I
Frances Custis, daughter of U.S. First Lady Martha Washington and Daniel Custis
Frances "Fanny" Nelson, Viscountess Nelson, wife of Admiral Horatio Nelson
Frances Elizabeth Cox (1812-1897), translator of hymn "Jesus Lives!"
Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879), hymnist and composer
Frances Clara Folsom Cleveland Preston, U.S. First Lady as wife of President Grover Cleveland
Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald, American journalist, daughter of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald
Frances Joan Davidson, Viscountess Davidson , English MP
Frances Louise McDormand, American actress
Frances FitzGerald, American journalist and author
Frances Hodgson Burnett, English children's novelist
Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard, American suffragist
Fannie Coralie "Frances" Perkins, U.S. Secretary of Labor, first woman cabinet member
Frances Ethel Gumm, birth name of American actress Judy Garland
Frances Marie Burke, Miss America 1940
Frances Teresa Stewart, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox aka La Belle Stuart, model of Britannia
Frances Anne Vane, Viscountess Vane, English memoirist
Frances Mayes, American novelist
Frances Elena Farmer, American actress
Frances Ann O'Connor, Australian actress
Frances Hardman Conroy, American actress
Frances Black, Irish singer
Frances Burney, English novelist
Eleanor Frances Callier, American actress
Frances Pen "Frankie" Benioff, daughter of actress Amanda Peet
Frances McKee, Scottish musician of band The Vaselines
Frances Hussey Sternhagan, American actress
Diana Frances Spencer, Princess of Wales
Frances Griffiths, English photographer of the Cottingley Fairies
Frances Yip, Hong Kong pop singer
Frances Clementine Suplee (b. 2006), daughter of American actor Ethan Suplee
Frances "Frankie" Pen Friedman (b. 2007), daughter of American actress Amanda Peet
Frances Cole Fallon (b. 2014), daughter of comedian Jimmy Fallon
Frances Harper Wyle (b. 2015), daughter of American actor Noah Wyle
Frances Bean Cobain, daughter of musicians Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love
Frances Laiz Setta Schenkkan (b. 2016), daughter of Brazilian-American actress Morena Baccarin and American actor Ben McKenzie
Frances Afifi (b. 2016), daughter of actress Sarah Chalke

Pop Culture References for the name Frances

Frances "Frankie," character in "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends"
Frances, character in "Sonic X"
Frances 'Frankie' Addams, character in "The Member of the Wedding" by Carson McCullers
Francis Bonnefoy, character in "Hetalia"
Frances "Franny" Glass, character in "Franny and Zooey" by J.D. Salinger
Frances Halladay, character in "Frances Ha"
Frances "Frankie" Heck, character on 'The Middle'
Frances Hindley, character in "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte
Frances "Baby" Houseman, character in "Dirty Dancing"
Frances Midford, character in anime Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler
Mary Frances "Francie" Nolan, character in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Frances "Frankie" Almond Smith, character in "The Hole" and "After the Hole"
Frances "Francie" Stevens, character in "To Catch A Thief"
Frances Waters, character in the "St Clare" book series by Enid Blyton
Bedtime for Frances, children's book series by Russell Hoban
Frances "Frank" Reagan, character in Blue Bloods
Frances "Frankie" Kane aka Magenta, character in DC Universe
Frances, character in short story "Fostered" by Tina Tirrell
Frances "Frankie" Pereira, character in Blue Valentine

Frances's International Variations

Franette, Fanchon, Francine, Françoise (French) Paquita, Francisca (Spanish) Ziska, Franziska (German) Franka (Russian) Francesca, Franca (Italian) Fanya (Slavic) Proinséas (Irish Gaelic)