General English


  • verb to stamp the date and postage on a letter


  • noun the right of sending official post free of charge, used by members of Congress


  • noun
    (written as Frank)
    a TV remote control. The reference is to the late musician Frank Zappa and zapper.

Origin & History of “frank”

To call someone frank is to link them with the Germanic people who conquered Gaul around 500 ad, the Franks, who gave their name to modern France and the French. after the conquest, full political freedom was granted only to ethnic Franks or to those of the subjugated Celts who were specifically brought under their protection. Hence, franc came to be used as an adjective meaning ‘free’ – a sense it retained when English acquired it from Old French: ‘He was frank and free born in a free city’, John Tiptoft, Julius Caesar’s commentaries 1470. In both French and English, however, it gradually progressed semantically via ‘liberal, generous’ and ‘open’ to ‘candid’. Of related words in English, frankincense (14th c.) comes from Old French franc encens, literally ‘superior incense’ (‘superior’ being a now obsolete sense of French franc), and franc (14th c.), the French unit of currency, comes from the Latin phrase Francorum rex ‘king of the Franks’, which appeared on the coins minted during the reign of Jean le Bon (1350–1364). The Franks, incidentally, supposedly got their name from their preferred weapon, the throwing spear, in Old English franca.