Francis, Frances, Francesco, Francesca

Saint_Francis_statue_in_gardenOrigin: Latin
Meaning: “Frenchmen.”

Francis has an interesting origin in that it seems to have first appeared in the 13th-century, the first recorded bearer being St. Francis of Assisi. Known as Francesco d’Assisi, Francesco was actually the saint’s childhood nickname, his real name being Giovanni. He was the son of a French mother and a wealthy Italian businessman, Francis was born in his mother’s homeland, and was baptized Giovanni in honor of St. John the Baptist, but as soon as his parents returned to Italy, his father started to call him Francesco (Frenchman) due to the fact that his son was born in France and also in honour of his successful business ventures in France. St. Francis of Assisi was known for his formation of the Franciscan order, and his disdain for wealth. He is said to have miraculously received the stigmata and his feast is held on October 4, traditionally a day when household pets are blessed by the priests in honor of the Saint’s love of animals. The name caught on immediately after the saint’s cult became widespread throughout continental Europe. It did not reach England till around the 16th-century. Other notable Francis bearers include St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) , Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Sir Francis Drake (1540-1595) and Frank Sinatra (whose full name was Francis Albert). There are several other notables not mentioned here. Francis is the English form but it also occasionally used in France, pronounced (frahη-SEES).

Francis currently stands at # 656 in the U.S. Top 1000 Male Names of 2008.

Variations include: (listed alphabetically by nationality)

  • Françesko (Albanian)
  • Francho (Aragonese)
  • Franciskos (Armenian)
  • Xicu (Asturian)
  • Frantzisko/Patxi (Basque: latter is pronounced PAHT-shee)
  • Francišak (Belarusian)
  • Frañsez (Breton)
  • Frantsisk (Bulgarian)
  • Francesc (Catalan: diminutive forms include Cesc, Cesco and Xesc)
  • Francescu (Corsican)
  • Frano/Franjo (Croatian: latter is pronounced FRAHN-yo)
  • František (Czech/Slovak: pronounced frahn-TEESH-ek. Diminutive forms include Franêk, Frank, Fraño, Franta and Išek.
  • Franciscus (Dutch/Estonian/Late Latin)
  • Frank (English/Dutch/German/Scandinavian: originally a nickname for Francis, it is often used as an independent given name)
  • Ransu (Finnish)
  • François (French: pronounced frahη-SWAH, the name was particularly common among French nobility and royalty.)
  • Fransiskus (Frisian/Swedish/Indonesian: Swedish diminutive is Frasse)
  • Frans/Franz (German/Dutch/Finnish: originally a nickname, it is commonly used as an independent given name)
  • Franziskus (German)
  • Frangiskos/Fragiskos (Greek Modern)
  • Ferenc (Hungarian: diminutive forms are Feri and Ferkó)
  • Proinsias (Irish)
  • Francesco/Franco (Italian: pronounced frahn-CHASE-ko)
  • Fransisks (Latvian)
  • Pranciškus (Lithuanian: pronounced prahn-TSISH-koos, diminutive form is Pranas)
  • Francesch (Lombard/Piedmontese)
  • Franġisk (Maltese)
  • Francés (Occitanian)
  • Franciszek (Polish: pronounced frahn-TSEE-shek, diminutive form includes Franek)
  • Francisco (Portuguese/Spanish: an obscure frankinized form includes Francisque. Common Spanish diminutives include: Curro, Paco, Pancho and Paquito. Portuguese nickname is Chico)
  • Francisc (Romanian)
  • Frang/Frangag (Scottish)
  • Franc/Franšicek (Slovene: latter is pronounced frahn-SHEE-chek)
  • Ffransis (Welsh)

Of course, how could we forget the beautiful feminine forms, which include, again divided by nationality alphabetically

  • Frantziska (Basque)
  • Franseza (Breton)
  • Franka (Croatian/German)
  • Františka (Czech/Slovak)
  • Francien (Dutch: pronounced frahn-SEEN)
  • Frances (English: common nicknames include: Fran, Frannie, Fanny and Frankie)
  • Françoise (French: pronounced frahη-SWAHZ. Other French offshoots are Fannie, France, Francette, and Francine)
  • Franziska (German: diminutives and offshoots include, Fanni, Franni, Franzi, Fränzi, Sissi and Ziska)
  • Franciska (Hungarian: diminutive forms include Franci and Fanni)
  • Franca (Italian)
  • Francesca (Italian)
  • Franciszka (Polish: diminutives are Frania, Franunia, Franusia and Franka)
  • Francisca (Portuguese/Spanish: popular Spanish diminutive forms include Paca and Paquita. Portuguese diminutive is Chica.
  • Frančiška (Slovenian: diminutive form is Francka pronounced FRAHNTS-kah)

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