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.

verb (used without object), biv·ou·acked, biv·ou·ack·ing.

  1. to rest or assemble in such an area; encamp.


  1. a temporary encampment with few facilities, as used by soldiers, mountaineers, etc

verb -acs, -acking or -acked

  1. (intr) to make such an encampment

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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