Frank und frei

Frank und frei


Honesty. Honorableness. Straightforwardness. Truthfulness. Candor. Directness. Fairness. Honesty is often confused with impoliteness. In Faust II (1832) written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany‘s greatest writer, Baccalaureus is criticized for being rude, rough, abrasive. He responds with: “Those who are polite in German are lying“.

In the truest sense of the word; without interpretation. “He literally took apart the automobile, piece by piece.“

frank und frei
Literally frank and free, as in “Let me speak frankly and freely with you”. The term ‘frank’ is an age-old German word for free. The Franks were a Germanic tribe which successfully withstood the influence of tribes migrating from the Nordic countries into what is today’s northern Germany. ‘Frank’ as a male first name was derived from Franko: a member of the Franks, meaning courageous, free.


Because Americans find it difficult separate what they say from the person they are saying it to – especially in the case of criticism – they strive to use softer, more indirect language, including euphemisms: mild or indirect words or expressions substituted for ones considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. (MerriamWebster)

Examples of euphemisms: ‘pre-owned car’ instead of a used car, ‘sex worker’ instead of a prostitute, ‘to be between jobs’ instead of to be unemployed, ‘senior citizen’ instead of old person, ‘underserved neighborhood’ or ‘underserved population’ instead of the poor, or an impoverished, needy neighborhood.

Further examples: ‘economically disadvantaged’ instead of poor; ‘temporary negative cash flow’ instead of broke; ‘enhanced interrogation methods’ instead of torture; ‘collateral damage’ instead of civilian deaths.

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