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I saw two guys joking around, the first one had had a Cheetos bag. Here is the conversation that took place between them:

First guy: Do you wanna little snack?

Second guy: Yeh, actually, it's one of my favorites. (He took the whole bag.)

(The guys kept chatting for a while ... and the second guy was enjoying the Cheetos in the meantime).

First guy: I think you're probably High, (laughing ...) you just camping on the Cheetos.

Second guy: (Laughing out loud) Hahaha.

I know what camping is, and based on that I would guess camping on foods means to keep eating while you're allowed for tasting only? Am I correct?

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    I don’t speak AmE specifically, but “camping” sounds like it means “staying” in this context.
    – Lawrence
    Dec 18, 2018 at 14:59
  • @Lawrence Agree, this is what came to my mind too, cuz camping means staying in a tent.So, let us see what Americans have to say.
    – CryptoBird
    Dec 18, 2018 at 15:08
  • Actually, I was thinking of a signalling context: e.g. a radio might camp on channel 1. But yes, let’s see what AmE speakers make of it.
    – Lawrence
    Dec 18, 2018 at 15:14
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    I think the use is closer to the video-game context of hanging out in a single spot to take advantage of the area (e.g. in a combat game, hiding next to a place where new characters appear so that you can shoot them immediately); he's "camping" on the cheetos, keeping them (or the opportunity to eat them) to himself instead of letting others access them equally.
    – Hellion
    Dec 18, 2018 at 15:21
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    @Lawrence Yet another meaning to add to my vocab, thanks a lot :-)
    – CryptoBird
    Dec 18, 2018 at 15:41

2 Answers 2

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As commenters have noted, camping is used in a number of contexts to mean something related to staying put.

The best clue in this dialogue to which meaning is right in this context is, "I think you're high."

Recreational drug use is often ritualized and has specialized vocabulary. Often, when marijuana is smoked recreationally, it will be shared by a number of smokers. Each participant is expected to inhale once from the pipe, joint, bong, etc, and then pass the marijuana to the next participant. If a participant does not pass the pipe/joint/etc. quickly after having smoked from it, he or she would be said to "be camping on the pipe/joint/etc."

The analogy (made almost explicit by the statement, "I think you're high") to the Cheetos is clear. The unspoken expectation is that each person should take a little handful of Cheetos and then pass the bag to the next person. Not doing so, holding onto the bag for an extended period and taking multiple handfuls would be analogous to holding onto the joint and taking multiple hits, or "camping."

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    Thanks a billion for your great explanation, BTW the guys were talking about smoking weed.
    – CryptoBird
    Dec 18, 2018 at 17:07
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    Note that in the specific case of the weed, the usual term for hogging the joint is "bogarting".
    – Barmar
    Dec 18, 2018 at 18:10
  • @Barmar re: "usual" I think there may be some generational or geographical aspects at play here. I am familiar with "bogarting" through cultural exposure, but I have never heard it spoken in person. Whereas "camping" is so well-known in my circles that it's rather more common to allude to it rather than using it directly: "Hey, you gonna pitch a tent over there or what?" Dec 19, 2018 at 20:47
  • @Timbo Maybe it's generational, the phrase I've heard many times is "don't bogart that joint". urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bogart I don't actually smoke weed myself, and haven't spent much time with people doing it, so I've just seen it in media.
    – Barmar
    Dec 19, 2018 at 20:56
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Camping comes from online role-playing games (my first exposure to the term was in Everquest) where Player-Characters (PC) would find a spawn location for a particular creature type they were hunting and then virtually camp at that location to kill the create as soon as it spawned.

This expanded into usage in First Person Shooter (FPS) games where when player characters (PCs) are killed they respawn at a predetermined location. Enemy players would then "camp" i.e.: wait at this location until the PC re-spawned; so that they could kill them easily while they were regaining their senses and before they had situational awareness.

Expanding to the Cheetos, the person holding the bag was "camping" the Cheetos - essentially hovering over the bag to be the first person to reach in each time.

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  • No, it’s originally from telephone lines, actually, where you camp on a line waiting for a busy to go away.
    – tchrist
    Dec 19, 2018 at 1:10
  • I'm disappointed the accepted answer doesn't clarify that this is the sense that the word "camping" is meant as in the quote in question. Before online RPGs, this would have been called "Bogarting the Cheetos". I'm not sure why. Dec 19, 2018 at 2:36
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    @ToddWilcox The Urban Dictionary says "To hold on to a joint too long without passing it on. Comes from the fact that Humphrey Bogart used to smoke like a train in his movies. So the person holding on to the joint too long is said to be 'bogarting' it". I found that entry because I was searching for "Bogart" expecting to find "Boggart" meaning an English malevolent spirit, a bit like a Troll; but it seems I was wrong.
    – BoldBen
    Dec 19, 2018 at 3:59
  • I was going to mention Bogarting, but felt it was superfluous to the explanation of 'camping.'
    – Arluin
    Dec 19, 2018 at 17:38

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