"place where an army lodges temporarily," 1520s, from French camp, from Italian campo, from Latin campus "open field, level space" (also source of French champ; see campus), especially "open space for military exercise."
A later reborrowing of the Latin word, which had been taken up in early West Germanic as *kampo-z and appeared originally in Old English as camp "contest, battle, fight, war." This was obsolete by mid-15c. Transferred to non-military senses 1550s. Meaning "body of adherents of a doctrine or cause" is 1871. Camp-follower first attested 1810. Camp-meeting is from 1809, originally usually in reference to Methodists.
"tasteless," 1909, homosexual slang, of uncertain origin, perhaps from mid-17c. French camper "to portray, pose" (as in se camper "put oneself in a bold, provocative pose"); popularized 1964 by Susan Sontag's essay "Notes on Camp." Campy is attested from 1959.
"to encamp," 1540s, from camp (n.). Related: Camped; camping.
[origin uncertain; perhaps, as noted in 1909, referring to a sense ''actions and gestures of exaggerated emphasis,'' it is fr French se camper, ''put oneself in a bold, provocative posture,'' attested fr the mid-1600s; the more modern senses were revived, introduced, and popularized in Susan Sontag's essay ''Notes on Camp,'' published in 1964]
During their journeys across the wilderness, the twelve tribes formed encampments at the different places where they halted (Ex. 16:13; Num. 2:3). The diagram here given shows the position of the different tribes and the form of the encampment during the wanderings, according to Num. 1:53; 2:2-31; 3:29, 35, 38; 10:13-28. The area of the camp would be in all about 3 square miles. After the Hebrews entered Palestine, the camps then spoken of were exclusively warlike (Josh. 11:5, 7; Judg. 5:19, 21; 7:1; 1 Sam. 29:1; 30:9, etc.).