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[boh-hee-mee-uh n] /boʊˈhi mi ən/
a native or inhabitant of Bohemia.
(usually lowercase) a person, as an artist or writer, who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices.
the Czech language, especially as spoken in Bohemia.
a Gypsy.
of or relating to Bohemia, its people, or their language.
(usually lowercase) pertaining to or characteristic of the unconventional life of a bohemian.
living a wandering or vagabond life, as a Gypsy.
Origin of Bohemian
First recorded in 1570-80; Bohemi(a) + -an
Related forms
Bohemianism, noun
pro-Bohemian, adjective, noun
pseudo-Bohemian, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Bohemian
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Rather with regret it was I found her to be a Mrs. Kenner, the leader of the Bohemian set.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • He had been asked to meet the Bohemian set at a Dutch supper and had gone.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • The Bohemian set, such as are possible, will be bound to come over to us.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • Well, then, if the Austrians may not be touched, what say you to a Bohemian!

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
  • In one corner was a donkey tied up, belonging to the Bohemian.

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
British Dictionary definitions for Bohemian


a native or inhabitant of Bohemia, esp of the old kingdom of Bohemia; a Czech
(often not capital) a person, esp an artist or writer, who lives an unconventional life
the Czech language
of, relating to, or characteristic of Bohemia, its people, or their language
unconventional in appearance, behaviour, etc
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
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Word Origin and History for Bohemian



"a gypsy of society," 1848, from French bohemién (1550s), from the country name (see Bohemia). The modern sense is perhaps from the use of this country name since 15c. in French for "gypsy" (they were wrongly believed to have come from there, though their first appearance in Western Europe may have been directly from there), or from association with 15c. Bohemian heretics. It was popularized by Henri Murger's 1845 story collection "Scenes de la Vie de Boheme," the basis of Puccini's "La Bohème." Used in English 1848 in Thackary's "Vanity Fair."

The term 'Bohemian' has come to be very commonly accepted in our day as the description of a certain kind of literary gipsey, no matter in what language he speaks, or what city he inhabits .... A Bohemian is simply an artist or littérateur who, consciously or unconsciously, secedes from conventionality in life and in art. ["Westminster Review," 1862]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bohemian in Culture

bohemian definition

A descriptive term for a stereotypical way of life for artists and intellectuals. According to the stereotype, bohemians live in material poverty because they prefer their art or their learning to lesser goods; they are also unconventional in habits and dress, and sometimes in morals.

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