Russia and Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe

How has the word “bohemian” come to mean an unconventional person

Though Bohemia is a region in the Czech Republic, the term bohemian is sometimes used to refer to an artistic or eccentric person. This term comes from the misguided belief that Gypsies (Roma) originated in Bohemia (it is now known that Gypsies originated in India rather than Bohemia). The stereotypes that are often attributed to Gypsies were then attributed to people from Bohemia, or Bohemians. Now, the word bohemian with a lower-case “b” is used to refer to an unconventional person, while the same word with a capital “B” refers to a person from Bohemia.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Geography Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App