From Middle English kampe ("battlefield, open space"), from Old English camp ("battle, contest, battlefield, open space"), from Proto-West Germanic *kamp ("open field where military exercises are held, level plain"), from Latin campus ("open field, level plain"), from Proto-Indo-European *kh₂em-. Reinforced circa 1520 by Middle French can, camp ("place where an army lodges temporarily"), from Old Northern French camp, from the same Latin (whence also French champ from Old French). Cognate with Old High German champf ("battle, struggle") (German Kampf), Old Norse kapp ("battle"), Old High German hamf ("paralysed, maimed, mutilated"). campus.
The verb is from Middle English campen, from Old English campian, compian ("to fight, war against"), from Proto-West Germanic *kampōn ("to fight, do battle"), from *kamp, see above. Cognate with Dutch kampen, German kämpfen ("to struggle"), Danish kæmpe, Swedish kämpa.
Unknown. Suggested origins include the 17th century French word camper, an assumed dialectal English word *camp or *kemp and a derivation from camp (n.) Believed to be from Polari, otherwise obscure.
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