also FRANNIAN, FRONION
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of obscure origin;
Cf. Old French fraignant, pr. pple. of fraindre to break; fraigneis uproar.
The usual explanation that the word is a corruption of faineant hardly suits the sense.
E-RIC suggests it might be from A.S. freon friend
1571 - The Excellent Comedie of two the moste faithfullest Freendes, Damon and Pithias, Richard Thomas (see Example below)
(Note: presumedly there was an earlier edition )
From: The Excellent Comedie of two the moste faithfullest Freendes, Damon and Pithias.
Made by Maister Edwards (Richard Edwards), 1571
Reproduced in Facsimile 1908