We can trace this word back to the Greek nomas, meaning “roving” or “wandering.”
A nomad is a person with no permanent home who lives by roaming from place to place.
So, nomadic people live by roaming from place to place rather than living in one spot. (And nomadic things are those that involve roaming from place to place.)
Figuratively, nomadic people and things seem to roam from place to place.
no MAD ick
Part of speech:
Adjective: “their nomadic lifestyle,” “their habits are nomadic.”
Other common forms:
How to use it:
Even when you use it generally or figuratively, this word tends to have a tone that’s dry, scholarly, and historical.
That’s probably because we most often use it in dry, scholarly, historical texts: “nomadic clans,” “nomadic tribes,” “nomadic herders,” “the nomatic baboons.”
But to get more general and figurative, we can talk about nomadic people and families, nomadic lives and lifestyles, nomadic habits and tendencies, nomadic journeys and explorations, etc.
Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Stuart Emmrich described the five months he spent hopping from one AirBnB to another on a “nomadic journey” to find the right neighborhood to live in.
“The American is nomadic in religion, in ideas, in morals, and leaves his faith and opinions with as much indifference as the house in which he was born.”
— James Russell Lowell, Fireside Travels, 1864