W.Gmc. *kampo-z, an early loan from L. campus "open field, level space" (cf. Fr. champ; see campus
), especially "open space for military exercise." Originally borrowed as O.E. camp "contest," this was obsolete by mid-15c. Meaning "place where an army lodges temporarily" is
a later reborrowing (1520s), from Fr. camp, from It. campo, from the same L. source. Transferred to non-military senses 1550s. Meaning "body of adherents of a doctrine or cause" is 1871. The verb meaning "to encamp" is from 1540s. Camp-follower first attested 1810. Camp-meeting is from 1809, originally usually in reference to Methodists.
"tasteless," 1909, homosexual slang, perhaps from mid-17c. Fr. 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.