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franchise

[fran-chahyz]
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noun
  1. a privilege of a public nature conferred on an individual, group, or company by a government: a franchise to operate a bus system.
  2. the right or license granted by a company to an individual or group to market its products or services in a specific territory.
  3. a store, restaurant, or other business operating under such a license.
  4. the territory over which such a license extends.
  5. the right to vote: to guarantee the franchise of every citizen.
  6. a privilege arising from the grant of a sovereign or government, or from prescription, which presupposes a grant.
  7. Sports.
    1. the right to own or operate a professional sports team as a member of a league.
    2. a professional sports team.
    3. a player of great talent or popular appeal, considered vitally important to a team's success or future.
  8. a set of creative works and related merchandise that share a fictional world, as films, television shows, books, or games:the Star Wars franchise;the Pokémon franchise.
  9. a legal immunity or exemption from a particular burden, exaction, or the like.
  10. Obsolete. freedom, especially from imprisonment, servitude, or moral restraint.
verb (used with object), fran·chised, fran·chis·ing.
  1. to grant (an individual, company, etc.) a franchise: The corporation has just franchised our local dealer.
  2. enfranchise.

Origin of franchise

1250–1300; Middle English < Old French, derivative of franc free. See frank1
Related formsfran·chis·a·ble, adjectivefran·chis·a·bil·i·ty, nounfran·chise·ment [fran-chahyz-muh nt, -chiz-] /ˈfræn tʃaɪz mənt, -tʃɪz-/, nouno·ver·fran·chised, adjectivesub·fran·chise, noun, verb (used with object), sub·fran·chised, sub·fran·chis·ing.un·fran·chised, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for franchise

franchise

noun
  1. the franchise the right to vote, esp for representatives in a legislative body; suffrage
  2. any exemption, privilege, or right granted to an individual or group by a public authority, such as the right to use public property for a business
  3. commerce authorization granted by a manufacturing enterprise to a distributor to market the manufacturer's products
  4. the full rights of citizenship
  5. films a film that is or has the potential to be part of a series and lends itself to merchandising
  6. (in marine insurance) a sum or percentage stated in a policy, below which the insurer disclaims all liability
verb
  1. (tr) commerce, mainly US and Canadian to grant (a person, firm, etc) a franchise
  2. an obsolete word for enfranchise
Derived Formsfranchisee, nounfranchiser, nounfranchisement (ˈfræntʃɪzmənt), noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old French, from franchir to set free, from franc free; see frank
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for franchise

n.

late 13c., from Old French franchise "freedom, exemption; right, privilege" (12c.), from variant stem of franc "free" (see frank (adj.)). Sense narrowed 18c. to "particular legal privilege," then "right to vote" (1790). Meaning "authorization by a company to sell its products or services" is from 1959.

v.

late 14c., from Old French franchiss-, past participle stem of franchir "to free" (12c.), from franc (see frank (adj.)). Franchising is from 1570s; the commercial licensing sense is from 1966. Related: Franchisee; franchiser; franchisor.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

franchise in Culture

disfranchisement

[(dis-fran-cheyez-muhnt)]

Removal of the franchise, or right to vote.

disfranchisement

[(dis-fran-cheyez-muhnt)]

Removal of the franchise, or right to vote.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.