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  1. Military.
    1. military operations for a specific objective.
    2. Obsolete.the military operations of an army in the field for one season.
  2. a systematic course of aggressive activities for some specific purpose: a sales campaign.
  3. the competition by rival political candidates and organizations for public office.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to serve in or go on a campaign: He planned to campaign for the candidate. He campaigned in France.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to race (a horse, boat, car, etc.) in a number or series of competitions.
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Origin of campaign

1620–30; < French campagne < Italian campagna < Late Latin campānia level district, equivalent to Latin camp(us) field + -ān(us) -an + -ia -ia
Related formscam·paign·er, nouncoun·ter·cam·paign, nounpre·cam·paign, noun, adjectivere·cam·paign, verbun·cam·paign·ing, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for campaign


  1. a series of coordinated activities, such as public speaking and demonstrating, designed to achieve a social, political, or commercial goala presidential campaign; an advertising campaign
  2. military a number of complementary operations aimed at achieving a single objective, usually constrained by time or geographic area
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  1. (intr often foll by for) to conduct, serve in, or go on a campaign
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Derived Formscampaigner, noun

Word Origin

C17: from French campagne open country, from Italian campagna, from Late Latin campānia, from Latin campus field
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 campaign


1640s, "operation of an army in the field," from French campagne "campaign," literally "open country," from Old French champagne "countryside, open country" (suited to military maneuvers), from Late Latin campania "level country" (source of Italian campagna, Spanish campaña, Portuguese campanha), from Latin campus "a field" (see campus). Old armies spent winters in quarters and took to the "open field" to seek battle in summer. Extension of meaning from military to political is American English, 1809.

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1701, from campaign (n.). Political sense is from 1801. Related: Campaigned; campaigning.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper