Meaning and Origin of: Franklin

Save Name

First name origins & meanings:

  • Old French : Free man

Last name origin & meaning:

  • English : status name from Middle English frankelin ‘franklin’, a technical term of the feudal system, from Anglo-Norman French franc ‘free’ (see Frank 2) + the Germanic suffix -ling. The status of the franklin varied somewhat according to time and place in medieval England; in general, he was a free man and a holder of fairly extensive areas of land, a gentleman ranked above the main body of minor freeholders but below a knight or a member of the nobility.
  • The surname is also borne by Jews, in which case it represents an Americanized form of one or more like-sounding Jewish surnames.
  • In modern times, this has been used to Americanize François, the French form of Francis.
  • The American statesman and scientist Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) was the son of Josiah Franklin, a chandler (dealer in soap and candles), who had emigrated in about 1682 from Ecton, Northamptonshire, to Boston, MA, where his son was born.