to frank a cheque (or check if you are not Canadian)

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to frank a cheque (or check if you are not Canadian)

Post by Archived Topic » Tue Jul 27, 2004 8:10 pm

Hi, This is Liz from Nanaimo, BC, Canada. I work at a recreation centre with a computerized cash register "point of sale" POS program. When payments are made by cheque, the program prompts the cashiers to "frank the cheque", which means to insert it into a printer which puts the centre's stamp on the back. In essence it means to validate or emboss it. We wondered it the expression could have something to do with Ben Franklin or the Franklin Mint?
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to frank a cheque (or check if you are not Canadian)

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Jul 27, 2004 8:25 pm

Nothing to do with "Ol' Ben" or the mint. It may well be a misuse of the term.
frank1

adj. frank·er, frank·est
Open and sincere in expression; straightforward: made several frank remarks about the quality of their work.
Clearly manifest; evident: frank enjoyment.
tr.v. franked, frank·ing, franks

To put an official mark on (a piece of mail) so that it can be sent free of charge.
To send (mail) free of charge.
To place a stamp or mark on (a piece of mail) to show the payment of postage.
To enable (a person) to come and go freely.
n.

A mark or signature placed on a piece of mail to indicate the right to send it free of charge.
The right to send mail free.
A franked piece of mail.

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frankness n.
Synonyms: frank1, candid, outspoken, straightforward, open
These adjectives mean revealing or disposed to reveal one's thoughts freely and honestly. Frank implies forthrightness, sometimes to the point of bluntness: "Be calm and frank, and confess at once all that weighs on your heart" (Emily Brontë). Candid often suggests refusal to evade difficult or unpleasant issues: "Save, save, oh save me from the candid friend!" (George Canning). Outspoken usually implies bold lack of reserve: The outspoken activist protested the budget cuts. Straightforward denotes directness of manner and expression: "George was a straightforward soul....'See here!' he said. 'Are you engaged to anybody?'" (Booth Tarkington). Open suggests freedom from all trace of reserve or secretiveness: "I will be open and sincere with you" (Joseph Addison).

[Middle English, free, from Old French franc, from Late Latin Francus, Frank ; see Frank.]


I suspect that a better term for what you are doing to the check is "endorse."

en·dorse
(click to hear the word) (n-dôrs) also in·dorse
(n-)
tr.v. en·dorsed, en·dors·ing, en·dors·es
To write one's signature on the back of (a check, for example) as evidence of the legal transfer of its ownership, especially in return for the cash or credit indicated on its face.
To place (one's signature), as on a contract, to indicate approval of its contents or terms.
To acknowledge (receipt of payment) by signing a bill, draft, or other instrument.
To give approval of or support to, especially by public statement; sanction: endorse a political candidate. See Synonyms at approve.


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[Middle English endosen, from Anglo-Norman endosser, from Medieval Latin indorsre : Latin in-, upon, in ; see en-1 + Latin dorsum, back.]
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en·dorsa·ble adj.
en·dorser or en·dorsor n.

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The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

© 1996-2002 yourDictionary.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Leif (Being frank, as usual), WA, USA


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to frank a cheque (or check if you are not Canadian)

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Jul 27, 2004 8:39 pm

Leif and Liz, You naughties [see the instructions on left side of page . . . (<:)] There was a pretty good discussion of the verb ‘to frank’ in posting #489. And here’s my two cents on the long but fairly clear path that took us from the ancient Franks to stamping a check.
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The Germanic folks who conquered Gaul around 500 A.D., the Franks, gave their name to France and the French (see #489 for explanation of origins of tribal name ‘Frank’). After the conquest, full political freedom went only to ‘freemen’– ethnic Franks or subjugated Celts who were specifically brought under their protection. Thus, ‘franc’ came to be used as an adjective meaning free (~1300) – a sense it retained when English acquired it from Old French. In both French and English, however, it gradually progressed semantically via ‘liberal, generous’ and ‘open’ to ‘outspoken’ and’ candid’ and this sense was first recorded in the mid-16th century. The first recorded usage of ‘frank’ as a verb (taken form the adjective), meaning to send in the mail free of charge, was in 1708. At about the same time the verb also took on the meaning of signing (a letter, etc.) to ensure transmission free of charge. By the early 20th century the verb meant to put an official sign or mark on (a letter, etc.) by mechanical means to record payment of postage, and then generally to put any official sign on (an envelope, etc.). By the mid-20th century it took on the additional meaning of putting a postmark on (a letter, etc.) or on top of (a postage stamp). [above is a meld of info from New Shorter OED, Dictionary of Word Origins, and Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology].
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Ken G – December 10, 2002




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to frank a cheque (or check if you are not Canadian)

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Jul 27, 2004 8:53 pm

Ken, you seem to be on top of it, as always! (I wonder where "on top of it" came from.) Thank you for your complete response. I did search the archives but found no reponse to "frank the cheque", "frank the check", or "to frank". Perhaps the search engine does not work here on the wet, western coast of Canada...Liz
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to frank a cheque (or check if you are not Canadian)

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Jul 27, 2004 9:08 pm

Liz, I’m not that good at site mechanics, but what I do to locate a phrase is, once on the page with the long list of words in Clubhouse, I hit the edit button on the toolbar at the top of the page (I’m in Internet Explorer but assume it is similar with others). I then hit ‘find’ which is one of the choices in the menu that drops down. When I typed in ‘frank,’ it located the current ‘frank’ question (#3665 which I see at the bottom of my screen as I put my cursor over each posting). Then I hit the button in the find screen which says ‘find next’ and it took me down to #489 ‘to frank.’ Give that a try and see if it works for you. If for some reason it doesn’t; I’m sure some others will have some ideas on what to do.

Ken G – December 11, 2002

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to frank a cheque (or check if you are not Canadian)

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Jul 27, 2004 9:22 pm

Sorry, here we tom dick or harry a letter.
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to frank a cheque (or check if you are not Canadian)

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Jul 27, 2004 9:37 pm

Ken: I guess I was naughty on my verbose reply. Apparently I was not wearing my briefs! The problem I saw in the term "to frank a check" is that there really isn't a dictionary discussion to allow for that use. "Frank" seems to imply using some form of imprimature to allow free passage of such things as mail. "Franking" a check isn't to make it free, but rather to "endorse" it to the payee. Nowhere in the dictionary definitions (to include the OED) was there any use of "frank" in the sense of endorsing an item. I should have culled my dictionary definitions to allow those of us (myself included)to find more swiftly explanation of my expose'before their eyes began to close!

Leif (being earnest for the moment), WA, USA

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to frank a cheque (or check if you are not Canadian)

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Jul 27, 2004 9:51 pm

Dont you mean hot dog a check?
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Re: to frank a cheque (or check if you are not Canadian)

Post by freakinwacko » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:04 pm

From the endnotes in the Barnes and Nobles Classics of Sense and Sensibility: "A member of Parliament could send letters for free by signing his name to the back of the envelope."
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Re: to frank a cheque (or check if you are not Canadian)

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:54 pm

Yes, most of them had names after their letters.
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