Etymology
Advertisement
camp (v.)
"to encamp, establish or make a camp," 1540s, from camp (n.). Related: Camped; camping. Later "to live temporarily in tents or rude places of shelter" (1610s), in modern times often for health or pleasure. Camping out is attested from 1834, American English.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
camp (n.)

1520s, "place where an army lodges temporarily," from French camp, in this sense from Italian campo, from Latin campus "open field, level space," especially "open space for military exercise" (see campus).

The direct descendant of Latin campus in French is champ "a field." The Latin word had been taken up in early West Germanic as *kampo-z and appeared originally in Old English as camp "contest, battle, fight, war." This word was obsolete by mid-15c.

Transferred to non-military senses by 1550s. Meaning "body of adherents of a doctrine or cause" is from 1871. Camp-follower "one who follows an army without being officially connected to it," such as sutlers, washer-women, etc., first attested 1810. Camp-meeting "religious meeting for prayer, etc., held in an outdoor camp" is from 1809, American English, originally and especially in reference to Methodists. Camp-fever (1758) is any epidemic fever incident to life in a camp, especially typhus or typhoid. A camp-stool (1794) has a flexible seat and cross-legs and is made to be folded up and packed away when not in use.

Related entries & more 
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.
Related entries & more 
camp-ground (n.)
also campground, "place for camping," 1806, from camp (n.) or (v.) + ground (n.).
Related entries & more 
encamp (v.)
1560s, "go into camp, settle in temporary quarters," from en- (1) "make, put in" + camp (n.). Related: Encamped; encamping.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
campfire (n.)

also camp-fire, "fire in a camp for warmth or cooking," 1835, from camp (n.) + fire (n.). In the GAR (Civil War Northern veterans' society), "a meeting or reunion of members of a post" (1874).

Related entries & more 
camper (n.)
1630s, "soldier," agent noun from camp (v.). Meaning "attendee at a camp meeting" is from 1806; meaning "one who sleeps in temporary quarters outdoors" is from 1856; that of "motor vehicle with sleeping quarters" is from 1960. Extended use of happy camper is from c. 1987.
Related entries & more 
decamp (v.)

1670s, "to break camp, depart from a place of encampment" (military), from French décamper (17c.), earlier descamper, from des- (see dis-) + camper (see camp (n.)). Non-military sense of "go away promptly or suddenly" is by 1751. Related: Decamped; decamping.

Related entries & more 
Camp David 
U.S. presidential retreat near Thurmont, Maryland, built 1939 as Hi-Catoctin, in reference to the name of the mountains around it; called Shangri-La by F.D. Roosevelt, after the mythical hard-to-get-to land in the novel "Lost Horizon;" named Camp David by Eisenhower in 1953 for his grandson, born 1947. The Camp David Accords were signed there Sept. 17, 1978.
Related entries & more 
death camp (n.)

1944, in reference to the Holocaust, probably translating German Todeslager; they also were known as extermination camps (German Vernichtungslager); historians usually count six of them: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Chełmno, Bełżec, Majdanek, Sobibór, Treblinka.

Related entries & more