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Jul 21, 2014
This week's theme
Toponyms

This week's words
bohemian
damson
Gretna Green
whitehall
rounceval

The Bohemian
The Bohemian
Art: William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1890

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

What does a marathoner have in common with a Neanderthal and a milliner? All three are derived from the names of places. The word marathon is from Marathon in Greece, the word Neanderthal is coined from Neander valley in Germany, and a milliner is, literally, someone from Milan, Italy.

These are examples of toponyms (from Greek topos: place), words derived from place names. This week we'll see five other words coined from place names (in the Czech Republic, Syria, Scotland, England, and Spain).

Bohemian

PRONUNCIATION:
(bo-HEE-mee-uhn)

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Relating to Bohemia, its people, or languages.
2. Living an unconventional life.
3. Leading a wandering life.

noun:
1. A person (such as a writer or an artist) who lives an unconventional life.
2. A vagabond or wanderer.
3. A native or inhabitant of Bohemia.
4. The Czech dialects spoken in Bohemia.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French bohémien (Gypsy, vagabond), because Gypsies were believed to come from Bohemia or entered through Bohemia. Bohemia is a region in central Europe, now a part of the Czech Republic. Earliest documented use: 1579.

USAGE:
"The Green Relief 'natural health clinic' in a bohemian part of San Francisco doesn't sound like an ordinary doctor's surgery. For those who wonder about the sort of relief provided, its logo -- a can#nabis leaf -- is a clue."
Virtually Legal; The Economist (London, UK); Nov 12, 2009.

See more usage examples of bohemian in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment. -Hart Crane, poet (1899-1932)

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