[boh-hee-mee-uh n]


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.


Origin of Bohemian

First recorded in 1570–80; Bohemi(a) + -an
Related formsBo·he·mi·an·ism, nounpro-Bo·he·mi·an, adjective, nounpseu·do-Bo·he·mi·an, adjective, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bohemian

Contemporary Examples of bohemian

Historical Examples of bohemian

  • He had no idea that the Bohemian Brethren had ever been an independent Church.

  • She was standing opposite me, pointing behind me and shouting something in Bohemian.

    My Antonia

    Willa Cather

  • The Bohemian put his arm round her waist, she yielded, and their cheeks were touching.

    Parisians in the Country

    Honore de Balzac

  • There is also something akin, in this Bohemian's former sentiment, to the wish our nursery children make while eating apples.

  • Charmian was troubled to decide what was truly Bohemian to eat, when they became hungry over their work.

    The Coast of Bohemia

    William Dean Howells

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

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

Culture definitions for bohemian


A descriptive term for a stereotypical way of life for artists and intellectuals. According to the stereotype (see also 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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.