1 of 5


: marked by free, forthright, and sincere expression
a frank reply
: unmistakably evident
frank materialism
: clinically evident and unmistakable
frank pus
frankness noun


2 of 5


franked; franking; franks

transitive verb

: to mark (a piece of mail) with an official signature or sign indicating the right of the sender to free mailing
: to mail free
: to affix to (mail) a stamp or a marking indicating the payment of postage
: to enable to pass or go freely or easily
frankable adjective
franker noun


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noun (1)

: the signature of the sender on a piece of franked mail serving in place of a postage stamp
: a mark or stamp on a piece of mail indicating postage paid
: a franked envelope
: the privilege of sending mail free of charge


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noun (2)


5 of 5

noun (3)

: a member of a West Germanic tribal confederacy that entered the Roman provinces in a.d. 253, occupied the Netherlands and most of Gaul, and established themselves along the Rhine

Did you know?

The word frank comes from the name of the Franks, a West Germanic people who lived long ago. In the early Middle Ages the Franks were in power in France. (It was from them that the country got its name, in Latin Francia.) The Franks eventually merged with the earlier Gaulish and Roman inhabitants, and their name (Francus in Latin) lost its ethnic sense and referred to any inhabitant of Francia who was free, that is, not a slave or bondman. As an adjective, francus came to mean simply “free.” From the English adjective frank, which means “free” or “forthright,” we get the verb frank, which means “to mark mail with an official sign so that it may be mailed free.”

Choose the Right Synonym for frank

frank, candid, open, plain mean showing willingness to tell what one feels or thinks.

frank stresses lack of shyness or secretiveness or of evasiveness from considerations of tact or expedience.

frank discussions

candid suggests expression marked by sincerity and honesty especially in offering unwelcome criticism or opinion.

a candid appraisal

open implies frankness but suggests more indiscretion than frank and less earnestness than candid.

open in saying what they think

plain suggests outspokenness and freedom from affectation or subtlety in expression.

plain talk

Examples of frank in a Sentence

Adjective our ballet teacher is very frank about telling her students whether she thinks they have the talent for a career in dance
Recent Examples on the Web
Shakir says Sanders is now urging Biden to lay out a second-term progressive agenda, and that Sanders has a frank pitch for Biden moving forward: Acknowledge problems and explain how they're being addressed. Elena Moore, NPR, 12 Apr. 2024 Martin’s narration is frank without being particularly revealing of anything except an odd combination of honesty and reserve. Jessica Kiang, Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2024 Conversations with them in private are very frank and very forthright. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 28 Feb. 2024 Xi also acknowledged issues with the domestic economy, adding that officials can handle them and the Chinese economy hasn’t peaked, the person said, describing the talks as open and frank. Bloomberg, Fortune Asia, 27 Mar. 2024 Mauricio eventually had a frank chat with Schwartz, who apologized. Jp Mangalindan, Peoplemag, 26 Mar. 2024 His new idea is a frank expression of economic illiteracy. Rich Lowry, National Review, 22 Mar. 2024 Huffman, though, had warned upon his return that cracking down on one community threatened frank exchange in all of them. Paresh Dave, WIRED, 14 Mar. 2024 These are exactly the kind of frank, encouraging conversations Chaku stressed families and schools need to have with children. Alexa Lee, STAT, 7 Mar. 2024
Yet the former mayor is also known for his frank and, at times, sexist comments, notes Bloomberg. Lionel Lim, Fortune, 23 Nov. 2023 The franks are put on Nolan’s hot dog buns, which are also totally vegan-friendly. Alex Darus, cleveland, 3 Aug. 2023 Outside of franks, the menu also includes Hartville potato chips and beer onion dip for $3.50 FrankieLynn can function outside of its cart. Alex Darus, cleveland, 3 Aug. 2023 That means for the 63 hot dogs and buns Chestnut gobbled down last year, the calories of the franks would have equaled 10,710 and the buns added another 8,190 calories — for a grand total of 18,900 calories consumed. Sara Moniuszko, CBS News, 3 July 2023 Nathan's natural casing beef franks also include 16 grams of total fat and 480 milligrams of sodium per dog — so one hot dog accounts for about 21% of your daily recommended values for each. Sara Moniuszko, CBS News, 3 July 2023 Joey Chestnut waited out a rain delay, then got another win at Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, downing 62 franks and buns in 10 minutes. Mark Heim |, al, 4 July 2023 With 63 franks consumed last year, Chestnut's total fat and sodium intake would have equalled 1,008 grams and 30,240 milligrams, respectively. Sara Moniuszko, CBS News, 3 July 2023 Irish immigrant James Mullen triumphed, with 13 franks, and an annual tradition was born. Marisa Iati, Anchorage Daily News, 3 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'frank.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Adjective, Verb, and Noun (1)

Middle English, free, from Anglo-French franc, from Medieval Latin francus, from Late Latin Francus Frank

Noun (3)

Middle English, partly from Old English Franca; partly from Anglo-French Franc, from Late Latin Francus, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German Franko Frank, Old English Franca

First Known Use


1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1701, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (1)

1713, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

1904, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of frank was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near frank

Cite this Entry

“Frank.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
: free in speaking one's feelings and opinions
frankness noun


2 of 2 noun
: a member of a Germanic people living in ancient Gaul

Medical Definition


: clinically evident
frank pus
frank gout

Biographical Definition

Frank 1 of 2

biographical name (1)

ˈfraŋk How to pronounce Frank (audio)
Anne 1929–1945 German-born diarist during the Holocaust


2 of 2

biographical name (2)

Joachim 1940–     American (German-born) biochemist and biophysicist

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