Gender: Female Meaning of Frances: "from France; free man" Origin of Frances: English from Latin Frances's Popularity in 2019: #438

Frances Origin and Meaning

The name Frances is a girl's name of Latin origin meaning "from France; free man".

Frances is the feminine form of Francis, the English variation of the Latin name Franciscus. Franciscus, meaning “Frenchman,” was taken from the Germanic tribe the Franks, which got its name from the francisca, the axe they used in battle. Until the seventeenth century, the spellings Frances and Francis were used interchangeably for both sexes.

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 Jimmy Fallon 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. 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.

16 names similar to Frances

These 16 names were selected by our users that were looking for other names like Frances. If you didn't find an alternative name that you like better than Frances, try our name generator. It allows you to go beyond the similarities of a name, which can provide a lot of inspiration!

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Rank in US: #438

- this week

Famous People Named Frances

Pop Culture References for the name Frances

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)


can90 Says:


So beautiful! I prefer Francine, but I love all the Fran names. Absolutely Chic, Feminine, Fashionable and Classy! Love! Love!

KaiLun Says:


I don't know how many people are aware of the spelling conventions for Frances/Francis. I certainly wasn't aware until recently and I still don't think I can keep it straight. I've also read that Frances Kelsey got one of her jobs because her employer, unaware of the spelling conventions, thought she was a man so you might be able to get away with Frances on a boy

NimbleNymph Says:


I knew a girl named Frances. I've always thought this was such a pretty, spunky name.

myrealitie Says:


Haha this is because of Francis in Pee Wee Herman.

angelmoon Says:


One of my favorite girls' names! I plan on naming my daughter Frances Rose, to be called Frankie for short :)

MidnightSky Says:


I always thought Frances sounded beautiful and elegant. It's very classic but not overused. It is one of the few family names I would use for a daughter.

KayleighEx Says:


My 2 year daughter is called Frances and we love it! We had a mixed response. I think some people thought it was old fashioned or thought it was a boys name but I've learnt not to care as we both love it, and to be honest I love old-fashioned unisex names!

Her nickname is Frankie which we don't use much yet but others do.

I think it's a beautiful, grown-up name with cute nickname options and I like that it's classic but still quite unusual. There are some amazing namesakes too such as Frances Mcdormand.

Franque Mahee Says:


It's just as recent for me that I've fully grown into my name. I too had trouble reconciling that such an old name belonged to me. But I am happy in 2018 to be called "MISS FRANCES" which mean "SHE KNOWS'. My name is passed all thought out my lineage. I feel quite blessed today HAPPY NEW YEAR! HAPPY NEW AND PROSPEROUS YEAR FRANCES!!!!


ccmrath Says:


A beautiful name. Both of my grandmothers had the middle name Frances and my mom really wanted to make it my middle name as well but I ended up with the middle name Carol instead. I've always preferred Frances... it's so feminine but not overly frilly, and there are so many great Frances/Francis in history. I definitely want to use Francesca on a future daughter one day.

ccmrath Says:


What a beautiful name. I have a 2 yr old niece named Genevieve and it fits her perfectly. I also adore the name Frances!!

podsolnechnik13 Says:


They used to be used interchangeably, and I love this spelling for boys too. If you like it, go with it.

podsolnechnik13 Says:


I love this name, and I actually prefer this spelling for boys as well.

Erica Says:


Frances is a great name! You should be proud.

paulapuddephatt Says:


I prefer to see Francis on boys, and Frances on girls. Francis on girls is just about okay, but I wouldn't personally recommend using Frances for a boy, even as a middle name. That is just my opinion, of course. I do love the name on both genders - but with the appropriate spellings.

paulapuddephatt Says:


Frances is a beautiful, classic name. I have been appreciating this name of late, so much more than I used to.

grace147 Says:


this is my middle name, and growing up I hated it. Partly because I just thought it sounded like a grandma name, and partly because I was named after my great grandfather, which I thought was weird to be named after someone of the opposite gender. But now I kinda like it. Since my first name is grace, my family has given me the comical nickname G-Fran. Wouldn't want it any other way :)

taylorp Says:


I think Frances Genevieve is a beautiful name! Your mom was ahead of her time because I can easily imagine a little girl with this name today.

TheSlothPrincess Says:


I think Frances is a very feminine, classic sounding name. Old fashioned names are rising in popularity and I see Frances being among them.

cabosanmucus Says:


Honestly I've always seen this as a bully's name. Something about it is just reminds me of a big bad bully. Maybe it's the Franceses I've seen. Francesca is so much prettier.

Haids1987 Says:


I'm sure you wear it very well! :) I mostly meant with the onslaught of celebrity babies with this name, I don't understand its popularity.

Fran Says:


OMG it's not that bad. LOL geez you're giving me a complex. Growing up I was called Franny or Francine or Francie. I'm still call those things now even though my name is officially Francis. Took a long time for me to appreciate my name becauseso many people think like that. It's OK though it's a unique and different name and I am 40 so I guess it will grow into me another 20 years God willing if I'm still alive I will be an elderly lady so it will be appropriate

Fran Says:


Honestly this is my name but growing up it was a hard name to have because everybody was a Liz or Sarah or Jennifer.
Grew up in 1980's & was 15 before I met another one of me that wasn't elderly!
I grew up in a good sized area too.
Now that I am 40 I don't mind the name as much anymore but I still feel like every time I say my name is Frances or Fran that it just doesn't sound pretty or something.
It's quite old-fashioned and you usually think of an old person when you think of my name. So I guess in 20 years I'll be OK. LOL lately there have been more more people are naming their children after me or after my name I should say and I always think to myself oh my god what are you doing to your kid?' Lol
My middle name is Genevieve. I know a Nother old-fashioned name. Thank my mother for this one. She made me after my great great grandmother and my great great aunt or something like that. But you know what though I kind of love both of my names because they have been so unique and pretty in their own way
So even though it hurts reading comments were people say it's an ugly name or whatever I'm OK with it. It's taking me a long time to appreciate how different my name is but that's OK.

RoddyThlayli Says:


I think Frances would work fine on a boy, especially as a middle name.

MaryKathryn Says:


I love this name as a middle name. Do you think this spelling could be used for a boy? I don't see anything overtly feminine about this name, but the only "male" spelling is Francis. I just prefer this spelling.

Hydra Says:


I agree.Oddly,though,I like male Francis quite a bit.

Haids1987 Says:


Blech, apparently I am in the minority--I can't stand this name. I have never liked it, and I suspect that it will never grow on me. It sounds stuffy and nasally to me, and rather snobby as well.

EW314 Says:


I really like Frances. It's one of those so-uncool-it's-cool names which are having a bit of a moment right now. Frances fits right in with the trend, without feeling trendy itself. It's still hovering down around the 500-600 range in terms of popularity, which is very rare in real terms.

I know it's not everyone's taste, but I LOVE the nickname Frankie for a girl and would use Frances just to get to that! Though I slightly prefer the German variant, Franka.

headintheclouds Says:


On one hand, I find that Frances sounds frumpy and just tired and outdated, one of the "older" names that don't appeal to me (e.g. Wilmer, Bertha, Vernon). On another hand, I think Frances sounds sweet and understated and charming, and the nickname Frannie is just the right amount of old-fashioned and darling. Frannie's the only nickname I like with Frances- Fanny and Frankie don't really sound nice with this name IMO. My issue with Frances is that it sounds exactly the same as Francis- I prefer its variant Francesca much more, which I actually do love since it sounds brighter and livelier.

snowsbeloved Says:


This is my mother's name. Although I won't be using it for any of my children, I think it is a classy name that is cute on a little girl, but seamlessly ages into an elegant and distinguished name for a woman. Except I hate Frankie and Fanny. Just kills the spunky yet pretty vibe the name gives. I prefer the nickname Francie or even the retro Franny/Frannie.

marmalade Says:


I love this name! It is time for a comeback, and Frankie is such a cute nickname!

Guest Says:


Frances is on the list for our baby girl; so spunky and cute! I think Frances is ripe for a full comeback.

leighloki Says:


Frances Cobain

Zoey_Artemisia Says:


I know a girl and her middle name's Frances.

jordalini Says:


I really like this because it is unisex, but it's not.

leonoras Says:


The only problem with this name is potential confusion with Francis, a boy name.