"a gypsy of society; person (especially an artist) who lives a free and somewhat dissipated life, despising conventionalities and having little regard for social standards," 1848, from a transferred sense of French bohemién "a Bohemian; a Gypsy," from the country name (see Bohemia). The Middle English word for "a resident or native of Bohemia" was Bemener.
The French used bohemién since 15c. to also mean "Gypsy." The Roma were wrongly believed to have come from there, perhaps because their first appearance in Western Europe may have been immediately from Bohemia, or because they were confused with the 15c. Bohemian Hussite heretics, who were driven from their country about that time.
The transferred sense, in reference to unconventional living, is attested in French by 1834 and was popularized by Henri Murger's stories from the late 1840s later collected as "Scenes de la Vie de Boheme" (the basis of Puccini's "La Bohème"). It appears in English 1848 in Thackary's "Vanity Fair."
The term 'Bohemian' has come to be very commonly accepted in our day as the description of a certain kind of literary gipsey, no matter in what language he speaks, or what city he inhabits .... A Bohemian is simply an artist or littérateur who, consciously or unconsciously, secedes from conventionality in life and in art. [Westminster Review, 1862]
Hence also the adjective, "unconventional, free from social restraints" (1848).
"a tramp," 1889, Western U.S., of unknown origin. Barnhart compares early 19c. English dialectal hawbuck "lout, clumsy fellow, country bumpkin." Or possibly from ho, boy, a workers' call on late 19c. western U.S. railroads. Facetious formation hobohemia, "community or life of hobos," is from 1923 (see bohemian).
central European kingdom, mid-15c., Beeme, from French Boheme "Bohemia," from Latin Boiohaemum (Tacitus), from Boii, the Celtic people who settled in what is now Bohemia (and were driven from it by the Germanic Marcomans early 1c.; singular Boius, fem. Boia, perhaps literally "warriors") + Proto-Germanic *haimaz "home" (see home (n.)). Attested from 1861 in meaning "community of artists and social Bohemians" or in reference to a district where they live (see bohemian).
also gipsy, c. 1600, alteration of gypcian, a worn-down Middle English dialectal form of egypcien "Egyptian," from the supposed origin of the people. As an adjective, from 1620s. Compare British gippy (1889) a modern shortened colloquial form of Egyptian.
Cognate with Spanish Gitano and close in sense to Turkish and Arabic Kipti "gypsy," literally "Coptic;" but in Middle French they were Bohémien (see bohemian), and in Spanish also Flamenco "from Flanders." "The gipsies seem doomed to be associated with countries with which they have nothing to do" [Weekley]. Zingari, the Italian and German name, is of unknown origin. Romany is from the people's own language, a plural adjective form of rom "man." Gipsy was the preferred spelling in England. The name is also in extended use applied to "a person exhibiting any of the qualities attributed to Gipsies, as darkness of complexion, trickery in trade, arts of cajolery, and, especially as applied to a young woman, playful freedom or innocent roguishness of action or manner" [Century Dictionary]. As an adjective from 1620s with a sense "unconventional; outdoor."
German name of the Bohemian town known in Czech as České Budĕjovice ("Czech Budweis"), from an adjectival form of the Slavic proper name Budivoj, hence "settlement of Budivoj's people." Related: Budweiser.
1866 in reference to a Slavic people in eastern Germany, from Bohemian Polab, from po "near, on" + Labe "the Elbe river" (Latin Albis, German Elbe).
1530s, follower of John Huss, Bohemian religious reformer burnt in 1415. His name is said to be an abbreviation of the name of his native village, Husinec, literally "goose-pen."
in reference to a type of key-arrangement on a flute, 1845, from the surname of German musician Theobold Böhm (1794-1881), who invented the system in 1832. The surname is literally "Bohemian."
1690s, hauwitzer, 1680s howitts, via Dutch houwitser (1660s), an extended borrowing of German Haubitze, from Bohemian houfnice "a catapult," from houf "heap, crowd," a loan-word from Middle High German hufe "heap." Introduced to German during the Hussite wars, 14c.