Fannie, Fanny

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Eng (FAN-nee); Fre (fahn-NEE)

While most sources agree that the name may have originally been a diminutive form of Frances, it may have actually started off as a franconized form of the Russian, Faniya, which is a Russian form of the Greek, Phaenna, derived from the Greek, φαεινος (phaeinnos), meaning, “shining.” The name may have been introduced into France via the Ballet Russe. Another possibility is that it is a French contraction of Stephanie.

In the Anglophone world the name has fallen out of usage due to vulgar connotations, in American-English, it is used to refer to the female buttocks while in British-English, it is slang for the female genitalia. This nomer may have developed due to the association of the erotic novel, Fanny Hill also known as Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, by John Cleland, (1748)

The name also appears in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park as the name of the heroine, Fanny Price (1814)

Fannie and Fanny was at one time a very popular name in the English-speaking world. The highest she ranked in U.S. naming history was at # 47 from 1881-1883. She completely disappeared from the U.S. top 1000 by 1968.

As of 2010, Fanny was the 130th most popular female name in France.

The name is currently borne by French pop-singer, Fanny (b.1979).

The name is also used in Scandinavia.

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)