Word Origin & History
1640s, "operation of an army in the field," from Fr. campagne "campaign," lit. "open country," from O.Fr. champagne "open country" (suited to military maneuvers), from L.L. campania "level country" (cf. It. campagna, Sp. campaña, Port. campanha), from L. campus "a field" (see
). 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 Amer.Eng. 1809. The verb is first attested 1701. Related: Campaigned; campaigning.