Gender: Masculine
Origin: German

The name could either be a German form of Francis or it may come directly from the Old High German word for “free.”

The name was borne by two Holy Roman Emperors and by Franz Joseph I of Austria.

Other notable bearers include Franz Kafka and Franz Liszt.

The name was very popular in Germany all the way up till the middle of the 20th-century, but fell out of usage, being considered rather dated, it has recently caught on again and is currently the 141st most popular male name in Germany, (2011).



Gender: Feminine
Origin: German

The name is a German feminine form of Francis

The name has always been very popular in the German-speaking world, she is currently the 46th most popular female name in Austria, (2010) and the 66th most popular in Germany, (2011).

The name is currently borne by two German pop singers.

A common nickname is Franzi.


Gender: Masculine
Origin: Italian

The name is a contracted form of Francesco and is commonly used as an independent given name, especially in among the Italian diaspora. It is currently the 8th most popular male name in Argentine, (2009), the 33rd most popular in Chile (2010) and the 838th most popular in the United States, (2010).

The name was in fact banned from usage in Argentina until recently due to its negative associations with the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.

A feminine form is Franca.

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)

Chiara, Clara, Clare, Claire

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “clear; see through”

    Chiara (kee-AH-rah), (KYAH-rah), has been in usage in Italy since the early Middle Ages. Chiara is also the Italian feminine adjective for the word, chiaro meaning, “clear” or “bright.”

    It was borne by Saint Chiara d’Assisi. (1194-1253). She was a companion of St. Francis of Assisi, both of whom believed in self-mortification and helping the poor. Chiara decided to start an order, known as the Poor Clares, while Francis went off to start his own order known as the Franciscans.

    Chiara is still a very popular first name in Italy. In 2006, she was the 5th most popular female name.

    The French form of Claire, also came into usage during the early Middle Ages. No doubt due to the cult of the male St. Clair of Dauphine, the patron saint of tailors.

    The name came to England via the Normans in the form of Clare, and the male Latin form of Clarus was borne by a British saint of Rochester, a Benedictine monk. Both forms of Clare and Clara were very popular prior to the Reformation in England and both names were revived during the 19th century.

    In recent years, for whatever reason, the French spelling of Claire has often times been the preferred choice among American parents. In 2008, Claire came in at # 62 in the U.S  Top 1,00o Female Names, while its elder English counterpart of Clare came in at # 679. In fact, even the Latinate version of Clara is far more prevalent than Clare, coming in at # 206.

    Clara/Klara is a popular choice throughout Northern and Central Europe.

    Other forms of the name include:

    • Clarice (English/French/Italian)
    • Clarissa (English)
    • Klára (Hungarian/Czech)
    • Claritia (Latin)
    • Claritta (Romansch)
    • Bistra/Jasna (Serbo-Croatian/Slovene: both literally mean “light; clear” and are used as indigenous cognates)
    • Clarisa (Spanish)
    • Clarita (Spanish: initially a diminutive form, commonly used as an independent given name)

    Diminutive forms are the French, Clairette, the Italian, Chiaretta, Chiarina and Claretta.

    There is the masculine Latin form of Clarus and the French masculine form of Clair.