The name "Bohemia" derives from the name of the Boii, a Celtic tribe who inhabited that area towards the later La Tne 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" has never been widely used by the local Czech population. In Czech, the region since the early Middle Ages has been called echy but also, especially during the period of restoration/emancipation of the Czech language and nation, as echie. Another term, stressing the importance of the state/nation, is Krlovstv esk ("Czech Kingdom") in Czech, or Bhmen (Knigreich) in German. Its mainly Czech-speaking inhabitants were called echov (in modern Czech ei).
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 such as "Bohemian of Bohemian language" (ech eskho jazyka), "a real Bohemian" (prav ech), etc. were used.
It was not until the 19th century that other European languages began to use words related to "Czechs" (as in English, Tschechen in German, Tchques in French) in a deliberate (and successful) attempt to distinguish between ethnic Slavic-speaking Bohemians and other inhabitants of Bohemia. The latter were mostly ethnic Germans, who identified as "German Bohemians" (Deutschbhmen) or simply as "Bohemians" (Bhmen). In many parts of Europe, state citizenship was not identical with ethnicity and language, and the various peoples were usually identified by their language. Ethnic boundaries in Bohemia were not always sharp, and people very often were bilingual. Intermarriages across language borders were also common. Native Czech speakers often spoke German and many native German speakers spoke Czech with varying fluency, particularly in areas with many Czech speakers.
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. It is also used to distinguish between inhabitants of the western part (Bohemia proper) of the state, and the eastern (Moravia) or north-eastern (Silesia) parts.
The term "Bohemianism" was associated with "a socially unconventional person, especially one who is involved in the arts", that comes from the French bohmien..
This use of the word bohemian first appeared in the English language in the nineteenth century to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities.
Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which often were expressed through free love, frugality, andin some casesvoluntary poverty. A more economically privileged, wealthy, or even aristocratic bohemian circle is sometimes referred to as haute bohme (literally "high Bohemia").
The term Bohemianism emerged in France in the early nineteenth century when artists and creators began to concentrate in the lower-rent, lower class, Romani neighborhoods. Bohmien was a common term for the Romani people of France, who were mistakenly thought to have reached France in the 15th century via Bohemia (the western part of modern Czech Republic), at that time a largely proto-Protestant country and considered heretical by many Roman Catholics.