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bivouac

[biv-oo-ak, biv-wak]
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noun
  1. a military encampment made with tents or improvised shelters, usually without shelter or protection from enemy fire.
  2. the place used for such an encampment.
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verb (used without object), biv·ou·acked, biv·ou·ack·ing.
  1. to rest or assemble in such an area; encamp.
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Origin of bivouac

1700–10; < French < Swiss German bīwacht auxiliary patrol, equivalent to bī- by- + wacht patrol, watch
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

encampmenttentcampgroundcampsitehoverlingerstoplivecontinueendurestandpersistlastprevailsurvivewaitgarrisonhutbilletcamp

Examples from the Web for bivouac

Historical Examples

  • Ascended a red-topped peak close to our bivouac and got a view ahead.

    Explorations in Australia

    John Forrest

  • Continuing westerly for about ten miles, we reached the water, our bivouac on the 22nd.

  • On a day late in October our company were in bivouac after some hard night-riding.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • The occupants of this bivouac had turned in, and the lights had been doused.

    Captain Brand of the "Centipede"

    H. A. (Henry Augustus) Wise

  • The bivouac was in the neighborhood of the Ground Squirrel bridge.


British Dictionary definitions for bivouac

bivouac

noun
  1. a temporary encampment with few facilities, as used by soldiers, mountaineers, etc
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verb -acs, -acking or -acked
  1. (intr) to make such an encampment
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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

Word Origin and History for bivouac

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper