• synonyms


[biv-oo-ak, biv-wak]
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  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 for bivouacked

hover, linger, stop, live, continue, endure, stand, persist, last, prevail, survive, wait, reside, perch, tarry, rest, freeze, squat, bunk, visit

Examples from the Web for bivouacked

Historical Examples of bivouacked

  • Bivouacked on North-West side of hill, at a small water-hole.

    Explorations in Australia

    John Forrest

  • We marched to the vicinity of Elkton, where we bivouacked for the night.

  • On the night of the 17th of October we bivouacked within a league of Ulm.

  • The 2d is bivouacked by a little stream, and I saw him fast asleep.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • Winder with the Stonewall Brigade bivouacked at Newtown, twelve miles north.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

British Dictionary definitions for bivouacked


  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 for bivouac

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 bivouacked



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