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.