- camp (n.)
- "place where an army lodges temporarily," 1520s, from French camp, from Italian campo, from Latin campus "open field, level space" (also source of French champ; see campus), especially "open space for military exercise."
A later reborrowing of the Latin word, which had been taken up in early West Germanic as *kampo-z and appeared originally in Old English as camp "contest, battle, fight, war." This was obsolete by mid-15c. Transferred to non-military senses 1550s. Meaning "body of adherents of a doctrine or cause" is 1871. Camp-follower first attested 1810. Camp-meeting is from 1809, originally usually in reference to Methodists. Camp-fever (1758) is any epidemic fever incident to life in a camp, especially typhus or typhoid.
- camp (adj.)
- "tasteless," 1909, homosexual slang, of uncertain origin, perhaps from mid-17c. French camper "to portray, pose" (as in se camper "put oneself in a bold, provocative pose"); popularized 1964 by Susan Sontag's essay "Notes on Camp." Campy is attested from 1959.
- camp (v.)
- "to encamp," 1540s, from camp (n.). Related: Camped; camping. Camping out is attested from 1834, American English.