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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bohemianism
Historical Examples
  • "I declare, our bohemianism progresses famously," said she, half tartly.

    The Bramleighs Of Bishop's Folly Charles James Lever
  • It is bohemianism in the domestic circle, a life full of improvidence and surprises.

    Artists' Wives Alphonse Daudet
  • There was certainly a tinge of bohemianism in Audrey's nature.

    Lover or Friend

    Rosa Nouchette Carey
  • Poverty in your life is a drag that my bohemianism can throw off.

    Paths of Judgement Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • But the bohemianism of her husband and his comrades could only turn her to ice.

    The Rescue Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • All suggestion of bohemianism is remarkably absent, even on the top floors.

    Vie de Bohme Orlo Williams
  • She is something of a Bohemian, but a Bohemian with a regret that bohemianism should be necessary to her.

    Travelling Sketches. Anthony Trollope
  • Although I had heard he was an artist, he showed no trace of bohemianism in his make-up.

    A Chain of Evidence Carolyn Wells
  • Napoleon cannot be said to have had high purposes, but his bohemianism was admirable.

    Human Intercourse Philip Gilbert Hamerton
  • There is often an element of bohemianism where we should least expect to find it.

    Human Intercourse Philip Gilbert Hamerton
British Dictionary definitions for bohemianism


unconventional behaviour or appearance, esp of an artist


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 bohemianism



"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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bohemianism 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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