bohemian

la_mas_deseada

Senior Member
United Statesian born and raised
My mother was reading an article about Brooke Shields who had said that her mother was bohemian. My mother thougth this naturally meant her mother was from Bohemia. I told her I doubted that. But what are you guy's ideas on how to define "bohemian" and does anyone know how the term came about?

thank you.
 
  • SofiaB

    Senior Member
    English Asia
    From the OED:Bohemian

    • noun 1 a person from Bohemia, a region of the Czech Republic.

    2 a socially unconventional person, especially an artist or writer.

    ORIGIN sense 2 is from French bohémien ‘gypsy’ (because gypsies were thought to come from Bohemia).

     

    A90Six

    Senior Member
    England - English.
    cuchuflete said:
    As commonly used, it means, as SofiaB has noted, arty, unconventional.

    A small note on the original question:

    I think it should be guys'.
    I wasn't going to mention it, but as you have brought it up, I would change it to "What ideas do you guys have..." as the construction above sounds awkward to me.
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    la_mas_deseada said:
    My mother was reading an article about Brooke Shields who had said that her mother was bohemian. My mother thougth this naturally meant her mother was from Bohemia. I told her I doubted that. But what are you guy's ideas on how to define "bohemian" and does anyone know how the term came about?

    thank you.

    Hello,

    I would say that no one can answer your question because, as written, there is an error in the sentence; either bohemian should be capitalized or the article "a" should be added:

    Her mother was Bohemian. (capital B, = from Bohemia)
    Her mother was a bohemian. (add the article, = unconventional)
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Sorry, Joelline, but as far as BE is concerned "bohemian" can be used as an adjective other than to describe nationality.

    She is very bohemian in her dress
    He is bohemian
    They have a bohemian lifestyle.
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Emma, Yes, I am aware of that.

    1. Can we agree that when it is used as an adjective of nationality, it is capitalized?

    2. I just think it sounds strange to say (with no supporting context), "Susie is bohemian." I might say, "O, Susie is a bohemian; she marches to the tune of a different drummer!

    Perhaps, this is a question of personal style, but I would use an article in #2.
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    GenJen54 said:
    She's rather bohemian by nature; just look at the way she dresses!

    I agree, GenJen, but that's what I meant about adding more context. Would you simply say, "She's bohemian" without adding something?

    I know! I'm probably just splitting hairs, here! (or feeling persnickity, tonight, perhaps.)
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    aragorn,

    While that indeed is a very lovely description of the King of Bohemia, I don't believe it captures the modern meaning that la_mas is asking about.


    La_Mas,

    You might wish to consider a google search about the so-called bohemian movement.

    Many of the artists and artisans of late 19th c. France were considered bohemian because of the somewhat gypsy lifestyle they led. The Puccini opera, La Bohéme, took the theme to heart, as did the film Moulin Rouge. The Broadway musical Rent modernized the theme and made it relevant for the new millenium.Basically, in each case, characters are artists or writers - "creative types" if you will, usually poor and struggling, and seeking to form a community with others of who share their artistic ideals. They have somewhat of a laissez-faire attitude about life and tend to dress in a very carefree, yet creative, manner. As almostfreebird said - they are almost hippie-ish - yet at the same time, are not necessairly politically driven like the hippies of the 1960s.
     
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