An artist well-known for wearing filthy coveralls, or a musician who shares a cheap apartment with eight roommates and a pet monkey might be described as bohemian — that is, willfully unconventional and nonconformist in both appearance and lifestyle.

In the nineteenth century, Romani (Gypsies) living in France were referred to as Bohémiens because it was thought that they come from the middle-European region, Bohemia. The name became attached to artists who moved to low-rent neighborhoods and who seemed to share the outsider status or spirit of the Romani. Although bohemian still carries traces of its edgy past, it can now be used to describe a fashion statement — such as pairing clogs with a floaty peasant blouse.

Definitions of bohemian

n a nonconformist writer or artist who lives an unconventional life

Type of:
nonconformist, recusant
someone who refuses to conform to established standards of conduct

adj unconventional in especially appearance and behavior

“a bohemian life style”
not conforming to accepted rules or standards

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