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90s Slang You Should Know


[biv-oo-ak, biv-wak] /ˈbɪv uˌæk, ˈbɪv wæk/
a military encampment made with tents or improvised shelters, usually without shelter or protection from enemy fire.
the place used for such an encampment.
verb (used without object), bivouacked, bivouacking.
to rest or assemble in such an area; encamp.
Origin of bivouac
Swiss German
1700-10; < French < Swiss German bīwacht auxiliary patrol, equivalent to bī- by- + wacht patrol, watch Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bivouacking
Historical Examples
  • Almost all people in different parts of the world have their own peculiar methods of bivouacking.

    The Prairie Traveler Randolph Marcy
  • The fifth company was bivouacking at the very edge of the forest.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • Someone mentioned that Captain Tushin was bivouacking close to the village and had already been sent for.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • During this day they contented themselves with bivouacking there on the beach at the harbour.

    Anabasis Xenophon
  • There the men seemed to be bivouacking; and the smoke of several fires rose slowly in the air.

    The Young Castellan George Manville Fenn
  • I am writing this in the woods, where we are bivouacking for the night.

    The Citizen-Soldier John Beatty
  • Thousands and thousands of men were bivouacking there in the open, improvising as best they could their habitations.

    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Vicente Blasco Ibanez
  • While bivouacking on the Hiawasse, a citizen named Trotter, came into camp.

    The Citizen-Soldier John Beatty
  • My health is perfect, although I have a slight catarrh caused by bivouacking in the rain and cold.

    Napoleon's Letters to Josephine Henry Foljambe Hall
  • The troops who had been bivouacking there had departed for the exigencies of combat.

    Les Misrables Victor Hugo
British Dictionary definitions for bivouacking


/ˈbɪvʊˌæk; ˈbɪvwæk/
a temporary encampment with few facilities, as used by soldiers, mountaineers, etc
verb -acs, -acking, -acked
(intransitive) to make such an encampment
Word Origin
C18: from French bivuac, probably from Swiss German Beiwacht, literally: by + watch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bivouacking



1702, from French bivouac (17c.), ultimately from Swiss/Alsatian biwacht "night guard," from bei- "double, additional" + wacht "guard" (see wait (v.)). Original meaning was an army that stayed up on night watch; sense of "outdoor camp" is 1853. Not a common word in English before the Napoleonic Wars. Italian bivacco is from French. As a verb, 1809, "to post troops in the night;" meaning "camp out of doors" is from 1814.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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