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Francis Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Francis including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Francis Overview

  • Meaning: “French man” or “free man”
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Origin: Latin
  • Pronunciation: “FRAN sis”
  • Popularity: Popular
  • Nicknames: Frank, Franco, Franny
  • Variations: Frances, Francisco, Franceska
  • Namesakes: Saint Francis of Assisi.

What Does Francis Mean?

The name Francis means “French man” or “free man” (1).

What is the Origin of the Name Francis?

Frances is of Latin origin and is an English-given name.

Saint Francis of Assisi, the saint known for communicating with animals and the patron saint of ecology, significantly influenced the name in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. However, it was not until the 16th century that the British regularly used it (2).

How Popular is the Name Francis?

The name Francis (or Frances, commonly used in feminine form) is most prevalent within Irish and Italian Catholic communities.

Overall, data currently ranks Francis at 466 and Frances (with an “e”) at 393 of the most popular names in the United States (3).

How Do I Pronounce Francis?

You pronounce Francis as “FRAN sis.”

Is Francis a Boy or Girl Name?

Francis is used for boys and girls, although the feminine version of Francis is often spelled with an “e,” as in Frances.

Variations of Francis

There are many variations of the name Francis around the world.

For boys, variations include:

  • France (French, Slovene)
  • Franciskus (Norwegian, Swedish))
  • Franco (French, Italian, Filipino)
  • Francys
  • Frannie (British)
  • Franny (British)
  • Franscis
  • Fransis (Persian, Thai)
  • Franus (Polish)
  • Frencis

For girls, it can be:

  • Fanny
  • Fran (Catalan, Croatian, Italian, Slovene, Spanish)
  • Francene
  • Frances (British)
  • Francesca (Catalan, Italian)
  • Francess
  • Francesta
  • Francine (British, French)
  • Francisca (British, Dutch, Portuguese, Sardinian, Spanish)
  • Franny (British)

Nicknames for Francis

Common nicknames for Francis are:

  • Fonz
  • Franc
  • Franco
  • Frank
  • Frannie
  • Franz
  • Fran
  • Franny
  • Frenchie
  • Fritz

Similar Names to Francis

Many cultures have a version of the name Francis.

Here is a list of a few:

  • Françesku (Albanian)
  • Franze (Bavarian)
  • Francina (female – Catalan)
  • Franjo (Croatian)
  • František (Czech)
  • Frank (Dutch)
  • Franciscus (Estonian)
  • Fanni (Finnish)
  • François (French)
  • Franziska (female – German)
  • Fragiskos (Greek)
  • Franciska (female -Hungarian)
  • Francesca (female -Italian)
  • Franco (Italian)
  • Frans (Norwegian)
  • Franciszek (Polish)
  • Francisca (Portuguese)
  • Franciscu (Sicilian)
  • Francisco (Spanish
  • Fransuva (Turkish)

Middle Names for Francis

Francis can be paired with various middle names, allowing you to use some cultural or ancestral background in your child’s name.

For boys, these names fit well:

For girl’s middle names, these names sound nice together:

Sibling Names for Francis

With Francis being a neutral name, you have plenty of options for siblings’ names.

For brothers, we suggest:

For sisters, we suggest:

Famous People Named Francis

Francis is a classic old name that has continued in the ranks for centuries. There are many people with the name Francis from royalty to pop culture.

Here are some of the most famous:

  • Christopher Francis “Frank” Ocean: An American musician.
  • Francis I and II: Kings of France.
  • Francis (Frank) Albert Sinatra: An American singer.
  • Francis Alick “Frankie” Howerd: A British comedian and actor.
  • Francis “Coyote” Shivers: A Canadian musician and actor.
  • Francis Crick: A British molecular biologist and winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  • Francis Ford Coppola: An American film director.
  • Francis Fukuyama: An American political scientist.
  • Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc: A French composer.
  • Francis Magalona: A Filipino rapper, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, and television personality.
  • Francis Molo: A New Zealand-Australian rugby league player.
  • Francis Owusu: An American football player.
  • Francis “Frank” Pearson: A British drag queen known as Foo Foo Lammar.
  • Francis Rossi: A British musician.
  • F. (Francis) Scott Fitzgerald: An American novelist.
  • Francis Scott Key: An American Poet and writer of the U.S. National Anthem.
  • Francis Zamora: A Filipino politician, businessman, and basketball player.
  • Pope Francis: The current Catholic pope.
  • Saint Francis de Sales: The patron saint of writers and editors.
  • Saint Francis of Assisi: Saint who was said to be able to communicate with animals and was made the patron saint of ecology.

Francis in Popular Culture

From period pieces to animated films, characters named Francis appear all over popular culture.

Here are some of the most popular characters:

  • Francis: A character in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.
  • Francis: A ladybug in the 1998 Disney/Pixar animated film “A Bug’s Life.”
  • Francis: Malcolm’s oldest brother in “Malcolm in the Middle.”
  • Francis “Frank” Barone: The father in “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
  • Francis Buxton: A character in the adventure comedy film “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.”
  • Francis “Frank” Castle: The Punisher from Marvel Comics.
  • Francis de Saint Germain: An immortal character in Michael Scott’s “The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.”
  • Francis “Frank” Delfino: A character in “How to Get Away with Murder.”
  • Francis Dolarhyde: A character in the book/movie “Red Dragon.”
  • Francis E. Francis: In “The Boss Baby.”
  • Francis Freeman: A character in “Deadpool.”
  • Francis “Frank” Underwood: A character on TV’s “House of Cards.”

Francis FAQs

Is Francis a Religious Name?

Yes. Although you will not find the name Francis in any holy books, it is often associated with Saint Francis of Assisi. He is one of the most revered Christian saints, giving the name a religious association.

Who Is Saint Francis of Assisi?

Saint Francis of Assisi, born Giovanni de Pietro de Bernardone, was an Italian friar. Canonized in 1228, he is a patron saint of Italy. He is most widely known for communicating with animals and being a patron of ecology. It is customary for people to bring their animals to church on October 4th, his feast day, for blessings. Saint Francis is one of Christianity’s most venerated religious figures.

Is Francis a Girl’s Name?

Francis can be used as a girl’s name. It is often spelled with an “e,” as Frances used in the feminine.

Is Francis a French Name?

Surprisingly, Francis is not known to originate in France. Instead, it comes from the Germanic people (Central Europe and Scandinavia) into the Middle Ages, known as the Franks.

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