Origin of the word “France”

Written by Anthony Lucas, French teacher since 2007

Origin of the word France

The word “France” comes from the Latin “Francia”, which goes back to the kingdom of the “Franks” established in the ancient Roman province of “Gaul” in the late Antiquity and early Middle Ages and which replaced this name.

The name “Frank” comes from Germanic: according to some it is an old Germanic word meaning “free”, related to the German word “frei” or in English “free”.

In Romance languages, such as Spanish, the word was preserved with a meaning of “free of expression” or “direct” (a frank person).

Symbolically since 1214, France is called « France” when the troops of King Philippe Auguste defeated those of the German emperor at Bouvines. Since 883, the word Francia (country of the Franks) was used, and before that date, Gallia (country of the Gauls).

In Greek, France is still called Gallia.

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