- 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), biv·ou·acked, biv·ou·ack·ing.
- to rest or assemble in such an area; encamp.
- a temporary encampment with few facilities, as used by soldiers, mountaineers, etc
verb -acs, -acking or -acked
- (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.