Things have changed since 1913. A franchise is still everything the old Webster dictionary says it is, but its most common definition is now a type of corporate structure.

Typically, a large corporation with a well-established public image (fast food restaurants are the most common example) will contract with an individual or small company to operate one of its retail outlets, or franchises.

This can be a very profitable arrangement for the corporation because the franchisee has greater autonomy, and potentially a much higher income than a regular, paid employee, and so tends to work harder and longer hours. In addition, the franchisee usually pays the corporation a substantial fee for the "privilege" of operating one of its outlets.

Franchise corporations, with their national marketing and recognized brand names, have a nasty habit of putting small, privately owned stores and restaurants out of business.

Fran"chise ]


Exemption from constraint or oppression; freedom; liberty.



2. Law

A particular privilege conferred by grant from a sovereign or a government, and vested in individuals; an imunity or exemption from ordinary jurisdiction; a constitutional or statutory right or privilege, esp. the right to vote.

Election by universal suffrage, as modified by the Constitution, is the one crowning franchise of the American people. W. H. Seward.


The district or jurisdiction to which a particular privilege extends; the limits of an immunity; hence, an asylum or sanctuary.

Churches and mobasteries in Spain are franchises for criminals. London Encyc.


Magnanimity; generosity; liberality; frankness; nobility.

"Franchise in woman." [Obs.]


Elective franchise, the privilege or right of voting in an election of public officers.


© Webster 1913.

Fran"chise, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Franchised (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Franchising.] [Cf. OF. franchir to free, F., to cross.]

To make free; to enfranchise; to give liberty to.



© Webster 1913.

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