verb (used with object), fran·chised, fran·chis·ing.

to grant (an individual, company, etc.) a franchise: The corporation has just franchised our local dealer.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for sub-franchise



the franchise the right to vote, esp for representatives in a legislative body; suffrage
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
commerce authorization granted by a manufacturing enterprise to a distributor to market the manufacturer's products
the full rights of citizenship
films a film that is or has the potential to be part of a series and lends itself to merchandising
(in marine insurance) a sum or percentage stated in a policy, below which the insurer disclaims all liability


(tr) commerce, mainly US and Canadian to grant (a person, firm, etc) a franchise
an obsolete word for enfranchise
Derived Formsfranchisee, nounfranchiser, nounfranchisement (ˈfræntʃɪzmənt), noun

Word Origin for franchise

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 sub-franchise



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.



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

sub-franchise in Culture


In politics, the right to vote. The Constitution left the determination of the qualifications of voters to the states. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, states usually restricted the franchise to white men who owned specified amounts of property. Gradually, poll taxes were substituted for property requirements. Before the Civil War, the voting rights of blacks were severely restricted, but the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, declared ratified in 1870, prohibited states from abridging the right to vote on the basis of race. Nevertheless, southern states used a variety of legal ploys to restrict black voting until passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Women were not guaranteed the right to vote in federal elections until ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. In 1971 the Twenty-sixth Amendment lowered the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen. (See suffrage and suffragette.)


Losing the right to vote, called disfranchisement, is most commonly caused by failing to reregister, a procedure that is required every time a person changes residence.


In business, a relationship between a manufacturer and a retailer in which the manufacturer provides the product, sales techniques, and other kinds of managerial assistance, and the retailer promises to market the manufacturer's product rather than that of competitors. For example, most automobile dealerships are franchises. The vast majority of fast food chains are also run on the franchise principle, with the retailer paying to use the brand name.

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.