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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Bohemian is a resident of the former Kingdom of Bohemia, either in a narrow sense as the region or Bohemia proper or in a wider meaning as the whole country, now known as the Czech Republic. The word "Bohemian" used to denote the Czech people as well as the Czech language before the word "Czech" became prevalent in English.


Origin and usage

The name "Bohemia" derives from the Latin term for the Celtic tribe inhabiting that area, the Boii, who were called Boiohaemum in the early Middle Ages. The word "Bohemian" was never used by the local Czech (Slavic) population. In Czech, the region since the early Middle Ages has been called only Čechy or Czechy ("Bohemia") or Království české ("Kingdom of Bohemia"), and its mainly Czech-speaking inhabitants were called Čechové (in modern Czech Češi).

In most other European vernaculars and in Latin (as Bohemi), the word "Bohemian" or a derivate was used. If the Czech ethnic origin was to be stressed, combinations like "Bohemian of Bohemian language" (Čech českého jazyka), "a real Bohemian" (pravý Čech) etc. were used.

In English the word Czech uses the pre 15 century spelling form . In about 983 Boleslav II married Emma from British isles, probably the daughter of Conrad later king of Burgundy. Also queen Anne wife of Richard II Plantagenet was daughter of Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and sister of Czech king Vaclav IV she brought in the famous carol Good King Wenceslas

It was not until the 19th century that other European languages began to use the word "Czechs" (in English – Tschechen in German, Tchèques in French) in a deliberate (and successful) attempt to distinguish between Bohemian Slavs and other inhabitants of Bohemia (mostly Germans). Currently, the word "Bohemians" is sometimes used when speaking about persons from Bohemia of non-Czech or mixed ethnic origin, especially before the year 1918, when the Kingdom of Bohemia ceased to exist.

Other uses

The term "Bohemian" as related to Bohemianism – i.e. describing the untraditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, musicians, and actors in major European cities – emerged in France in the early 19th century when artists and creators began to concentrate in the lower-rent, lower class gypsy neighbourhoods. The term bohémien was a common term for the Romani people of France, who had reached Western Europe via Bohemia.

Notes and references

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also bohemian




Bohemia +‎ -ian

In sense of Romani and by association, marginalized artists, from French bohémien (person from Bohemia, Romani), from Bohême (Bohemia); compare gypsy (Romani), from Egypt.



countable and uncountable; plural Bohemians

Bohemian (countable and uncountable; plural Bohemians)

  1. (countable) a native or resident of Bohemia
  2. (uncountable) the dialect of the Czech language spoken in Bohemia
  3. (countable, archaic) a Romani (Gypsy)
  4. (countable, slang) a marginalized and impoverished young artist, or member of the urban literati.



Bohemian (not comparable)


not comparable

none (absolute)

  1. of, or relating to Bohemia or its language.
  2. of, or relating to the untraditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, musicians, and actors in major European cities (or by extension, major North American cities as well).


See also

Simple English

Redirecting to Bohemia

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