Definition of bivouac in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈbɪvʊak//ˈbɪvwak/


  • A temporary camp without tents or cover, used especially by soldiers or mountaineers.

    • ‘Our cozy shelter had become a miserable bivouac.’
    • ‘It is more a gathering of those that are too old to be in the reserves anymore and very few younger reservists want to listen to these old and bold talking about the old days of bivouacs and hard tack.’
    • ‘The regiments that had fought at Quatre Bras arrived earlier and managed to set up bivouacs, such as they were, before nightfall.’
    • ‘Our only casualties from the bivouac were a slightly melted toe on my left plastic boot shell and Curt's taste for York peppermint patties (our only bivvy food).’
    • ‘Their stories, honed by years of sharpening in barracks and bivouacs around the world, usually touch upon three subjects; beer, women and running away from cops.’
    • ‘From their bivouacs on mountains, they attacked and burned villages, government offices, TNI posts, cars, buses and trains.’
    • ‘The battered bivouac has been replaced with a modern tent and a pickup.’
    • ‘Barracks, garrisons, bivouacs and encampments thus far spared came under a blitz of laser-guided bombs first used in the Gulf War.’
    • ‘The government hadn't supplied the surveyors with tents, so they rigged bivouacs to sleep in, toasted food over the fire and munched on hard square ship's biscuits.’
    • ‘And effectively, 30 minutes later, the Finnish line-up reached the bivouac, having covered nearly 1600 km.’
    • ‘This is not a sedentary fishing, there are no bivouacs or campsites involved with this style of fishing.’
    • ‘She followed Will over to where their tents were, but then Will took her arm and pulled her to the edge of the army bivouac.’
    • ‘I finally reached a garden like terrace of stunted trees, where the whole team set up the fourth bivouac.’
    • ‘They captured him, but left most of his baggage, together with a lot of papers, scattered about the bivouac where they had captured him.’
    • ‘Indian riflemen positioned in the bluffs north of camp fired blindly into the bivouac throughout the night, sending soldiers fleeing for cover in near-perfect darkness.’
    • ‘Elsewhere, the only restraint is the presence of coalition forces at the airports or in temporary bivouacs, and these troops are poised to leave at any time.’
    • ‘He tells Woolford that earlier, while the porters prepared our dinner, he went to scout our route for the next morning and stumbled across seven tribesmen crowded in a tiny bivouac about a mile from our camp.’
    • ‘We were prepared for a bivouac, the quad were not, wearing nothing more than t-shirts, shorts, and boots.’
    • ‘At 6pm, we gathered on a tiny 2 X 3 meter ledge; our second bivouac.’
    • ‘At noon, after an exhausting two and a half-mile march, Miles ordered the troops into an early bivouac in a horseshoe bend of the river and directed the Crow scouts to reconnoiter the valley.’
    camp, military camp, bivouac, cantonment, barracks, base, station, post
    View synonyms


  • Stay in a bivouac.

    ‘we bivouacked on the north side of the town’
    • ‘Not even abandoned tents lay on the American's campgrounds, just scraps of rubbish and a few scant reminders that only hours previously a force of nine thousand men had bivouacked there.’
    • ‘16 At about 1: 30 a.m., on April 9, the Second Brigade passed over the Pocolatigo Bridge, and marched a short distance before bivouacking.’
    • ‘Located below the 13,500-foot Homestake Peak - where troops bivouacked in snow caves and performed mock battles amidst blizzards - it recalls a division legend.’
    • ‘By evening they came to the ruins of an ancient city and bivouacked within a building that, though roofless, otherwise remained stood intact.’
    • ‘Pakistan troops train by bivouacking at high altitudes and conducting routine administrative activities and route marches.’
    • ‘There, on the river's western bank, he bivouacked for the night.’
    • ‘Let us pray I am not forced to bivouac in Oval for any similar length of time.’
    • ‘‘Many men might bivouac in fields outside these towns, waiting for ships to pick them up,’ Aldril continued.’
    • ‘By nightfall, Hallowell's brigade had covered sixteen miles and had bivouacked at Spring Hill.’
    • ‘According to the hut radio report, they had bivouacked for two nights on the wall, then called in a rescue after almost getting killed by falling ice and rock.’
    • ‘Initial concerns were ultimately allayed, for the battle group reached Helmstedt without incident and bivouacked for the night at an airfield.’
    • ‘Abdul gives the order to bivouac - in another set of coffinlike holes in the riverbank - and signals that he'll go ahead and kill some soldiers to get some food.’
    • ‘They bivouacked quickly, and with as little noise as possible, set up an ambush to the rear in case they had been followed.’
    • ‘They then turned back but halted their descent and bivouacked at about 7,000 meters after Kuribara became weak, it said.’
    • ‘He bivouacked in the open, exposed, at 25,600 feet, on a ledge cut from the ice.’
    • ‘They were forced to bivouac for the night, without oxygen, near the summit, huddled together at 28, 700 feet not knowing if they would survive the night or the psychological netherworld of creeping hypoxia.’
    • ‘For their part, Kondo and Ueno bivouacked at the same height for two nights, waiting to be rescued before moving lower for the pickup.’
    • ‘Spend two days working your way up the 22 pitches of the Lotus Flower Tower, bivouacking alongside a sea of granite after the first ten pitches.’
    • ‘Scampering up soapy slopes for the It's a Knockout Challenge, bivouacking for the night and abseiling down Ilkley's famous Cow and Calf rocks are some of the tasks.’
    • ‘They sell their trinkets, junk, cigarettes, DVDs, etc, to our guards and the Pakistani truck drivers bivouacking outside awaiting entrance onto the base.’


Early 18th century (denoting a night watch by the whole army): from French, probably from Swiss German Bîwacht additional guard at night, apparently denoting a citizens' patrol supporting the ordinary town watch.