The origin of the ethnic name is uncertain; it traditionally is said to be from the old Germanic word *frankon "javelin, lance" (compare Old English franca "lance, javelin"), their preferred weapon, but the reverse may be the case. Compare also Saxon, traditionally from root of Old English seax "knife." The adjectival sense of "free, at liberty" (see frank (adj.)) probably developed from the tribal name, not the other way round. It was noted by 1680s that, in the Levant, this was the name given to anyone of Western nationality (compare Feringhee and lingua franca).
allusive use for man-made monsters dates to 1838, from Baron Frankenstein, character in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel "Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus." Commonly taken (mistakenly) as the proper name of the monster, not the creator, and thus franken- extended 1990s as a prefix to mean "non-natural." The German surname is probably literally "Franconian Mountain," stein being used especially for steep, rocky peaks, which in the Rhineland often were crowned with castles. The Shelleys might have passed one in their travels. The German surname also suggests "free stone."
Frankenstein is the creator-victim; the creature-despot & fatal creation is Frankenstein's monster. The blunder is very common indeed -- almost, but surely not quite, sanctioned by custom. [Fowler]
The Franklin stove (1787) so called because it was invented by U.S. scientist/politician Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). In early 19c., lightning rods often were called Franklins from his famous experiments with lightning in the 1750s.
masc. proper name, from French Frédéric, from German Friedrich, from Old High German Fridurih, from Proto-Germanic *frithu-rik, literally "peace-rule," from *rik- "rule" (from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line," with derivatives meaning "to direct in a straight line," thus "to lead, rule") + *frithu- "peace" (source also of Old English friðu "peace, truce"), from suffixed form of PIE root *pri- "to be friendly, to love."
Related to the first half of Friday and the second half of afraid, also the second element in Siegfried, Godfrey, Geoffrey. Not a common name in medieval England, found mostly in the eastern counties.
c. 1200, frensh, frenche, "pertaining to France or the French," from Old English frencisc "French," originally "of the Franks," from franca, the people name (see Frank). A similar contraction of -ish is in Dutch, Scotch, Welsh, suggesting the habit applies to the names of only the intimate neighbors.
In some provincial forms of English it could mean simply "foreign." Used in many combination-words, often dealing with food or sex: French dressing (by 1860); French toast (1630s); French letter "condom" (c. 1856, perhaps on resemblance of sheepskin and parchment), french (v.) "perform oral sex on," and French kiss (1923) all probably stem from the Anglo-Saxon equation of Gallic culture and sexual sophistication, a sense first recorded 1749 in the phrase French novel. (In late 19c.-early 20c., a French kiss was a kiss on each cheek.) French-Canadian is from 1774; French doors is by 1847. To take French leave, "depart without telling the host," is 1771, from a social custom then prevalent. However, this is said to be called in France filer à l'anglaise, literally "to take English leave."
1903, American English, earlier French fried potatoes (by 1856); see French (adj.) + fry (v.). Literally "potatoes fried in the French style." The name is from the method of making them by immersion in fat, which was then considered a peculiarity of French cooking.
There are 2 ways of frying known to cooks as (1) wet frying, sometimes called French frying or frying in a kettle of hot fat; and (2) dry frying or cooking in a frying pan. The best results are undoubtedly obtained by the first method, although it is little used in this country. ["The Household Cook Book," Chicago, 1902]
French frieds (1944) never caught on. Simple short form fries attested by 1973. In the Upper Midwest of the U.S., sometimes called, with greater accuracy, American fries (1950), and briefly during a period of mutual ill feeling, an attempt was made at freedom fries (2003; compare liberty-cabbage for sauerkraut during World War I). Related: French-fry.
sixth day of the week, Old English frigedæg "Friday, Frigga's day," from Frige, genitive of *Frigu (see Frigg), Germanic goddess of married love. The day name is a West Germanic translation of Latin dies Veneris "day of (the planet) Venus," which itself translated Greek Aphrodites hēmera.
Compare Old Norse frijadagr, Old Frisian frigendei, Middle Dutch vridach, Dutch vrijdag, German Freitag "Friday," and the Latin-derived cognates Old French vendresdi, French vendredi, Spanish viernes. In Germanic religion, Freya (q.v.) corresponds more closely in character to Venus than Frigg does, and some early Icelandic writers used Freyjudagr for "Friday."
A fast-day in the Church, hence Friday face (17c.) for a gloomy countenance. Black Friday as the name for the busy shopping day after U.S. Thanksgiving holiday is said to date from 1960s and perhaps was coined by those who had the job of controlling the crowds, not by the merchants; earlier it was used principally of Fridays when financial markets crashed (1866, 1869, 1873).