[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 bohemianism

Historical Examples of bohemianism

  • "I declare, our Bohemianism progresses famously," said she, half tartly.

  • 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

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

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

bohemianism in Culture


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.