A Bohemian () is a resident of the former Kingdom of Bohemia, either in a narrow sense as the region of Bohemia proper or in a wider meaning as the whole country, now known as the Czech Republic. The word "Bohemian" was used to denote the Czech people as well as the Czech language before the word "Czech" became prevalent in English. "Bohemian" may also denote "a socially unconventional person, especially one who is involved in the arts." (see Bohemianism).
The name "Bohemia" derives from the name of the Boii, a Celtic tribe who inhabited that area towards the later La Tène period. The toponym "Boiohaemum", first attested by Tacitus, is commonly taken to mean "home of the Boii" (from the Germanic root *haima- meaning "world, home"). 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 ("Czech") or Království české ("Czech Kingdom"), and its mainly Czech-speaking inhabitants were called Čechové (in modern Czech Češi).
In most other Western 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.
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 all ethnic origins, especially before the year 1918, when the Kingdom of Bohemia ceased to exist; also when there is need to distinguish between inhabitants of the western part (Bohemia proper) of Czechia, and the eastern (Moravia) or the north-eastern part (Silesia).
The term "Bohemianism", when used to mean "social unconventionality", comes from the French bohémien "Gypsy" "because Romani people were thought to come from Bohemia, or because they perhaps entered the West through Bohemia".
- Oxford University Press. "Bohemian". Oxford Dictionaries online. Retrieved on: 2011-09-14.
- Tacitus, Germania 28.