FRANKLIN, a word derived from the Late Lat. francus, free, and meaning primarily a freeman. Subsequently it was used in England to denote a land-holder who was of free but not of noble birth. Some of the older English writers occasionally use it to mean a liberal host. The Latin form of the word is franchilanus.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)