- something that provides sophisticated, knowing amusement, as by virtue of its being artlessly mannered or stylized, self-consciously artificial and extravagant, or teasingly ingenuous and sentimental.
- a person who adopts a teasing, theatrical manner, especially for the amusement of others.
verb (used without object)
- Also camp it up. to speak or behave in a coquettishly playful or extravagantly theatrical manner.
- campy: camp Hollywood musicals of the 1940s.
- Walter (Chauncey). 1859–1925, US sportsman and administrator; he introduced new rules to American football, which distinguished it from rugby.
- a place where tents, cabins, or other temporary structures are erected for the use of military troops, for training soldiers, etc
- the military life
- tents, cabins, etc, used as temporary lodgings by a group of travellers, holiday-makers, Scouts, etc
- the group of people living in such lodgings
- Southern African a field or paddock fenced off as pasture
- a group supporting a given doctrine or theorythe socialist camp
- Australian a place where sheep or cattle gather to rest
- (modifier) suitable for use in temporary quarters, on holiday, etc, esp by being portable and easy to set upa camp bed; a camp chair
- (intr often foll by down) to establish or set up a camp
- (intr often foll by out) to live temporarily in or as if in a tent
- (tr) to put in a camp
- effeminate; affected in mannerisms, dress, etc
- consciously artificial, exaggerated, vulgar, or mannered; self-parodying, esp when in dubious taste
- (tr) to perform or invest with a camp quality
- camp it up
- to seek to focus attention on oneself by making an ostentatious display, overacting, etc
- to flaunt one’s homosexuality
- a camp quality, style, etc
“to encamp,” 1540s, from camp (n.). Related: Camped; camping.
“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.
- cyclic AMP
Make an extravagant, affected, or vulgar display, as in Amateur actors often camp it up, trying to be more dramatic. Originating in the 1950s as slang for flamboyant behavior stereotypically associated with gay men, this term began to be used more loosely by about 1970. Also see ham it up.
In addition to the idioms beginning with camp
- camp follower
- camp it up
- camp out
- break camp
- foot in both camps
- happy camper