Word of the Day : September 4, 2014


verb BIV-uh-wak


1 : to make a temporary encampment under little or no shelter

2 : to take shelter often temporarily

3 : to provide temporary quarters for

Did You Know?

In his 1841 dictionary, Noah Webster observed bivouac to be a French borrowing having military origins. He defined the noun bivouac as "the guard or watch of a whole army, as in cases of great danger of surprise or attack" and the verb as "to watch or be on guard, as a whole army." The French word is derived from the Low German word biwacht, which translates to "by guard." Germans used the word specifically for a patrol of citizens who assisted the town watch at night. Today, bivouac has less to do with guarding and patrolling than it does with taking shelter.


The search party bivouacked under a nearby ledge until the storm passed.

"Until Saturday, the virus had never entered the United States. But opposition to its importation via the ailing patients has been minimal, limited mainly to right-wing pundits and individuals griping on social media or eyeing the media horde bivouacked outside Emory." - Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times, August 3, 2014

Test Your Vocabulary

What word begins with "v" and can mean "a watch formerly kept on the night before a religious feast with prayer or other devotions"? The answer is …


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