Another Word of the Week request! (Love those–keep ’em coming!) This week for frank as an adjective–made by someone of that name. 😉
Frank is taken directly from the people group, the Franks, who took over Gaul in the Middle Ages and named it for themselves (hence, France). At this time in history, you were either free, captive, or slave–so in this area, the only free people were the invaders, the conquerors. The Franks. Therefore, frank came to mean free.
By about 1300, the word had entered English, still carrying the meaning given it by the tribal group in Europe–“free, liberal, generous.”
So if you want to be frank with someone, or to speak frankly, it’s all because a group of people who called themselves the Franks invaded Gaul in the 400s, defeating the Huns and taking over part of what had recently been the Roman empire.
Side note on Paris–in the Roman days, there was a fort along the Seine called Lutetia Parisiorium. When one of the Frankish kings, Clovis, decided he would unite all the tribes into one nation, this is where he set up his capitol in 481. He simply shortened the Roman name of the fort to Paris and called it his city–and it’s been the capital of France ever since!