a camp follower

camp follower

1. A civilian who follows a military unit from one location to the next, either because the person is closely related to a service member or to unofficially provide goods or services to members of the unit. Daniel spent his childhood as a camp follower. His father was in the army, so he and his mother had to move a lot.
2. A person who supports a group or cause without officially belonging to its organization. I always vote Republican, but I'm a camp follower—I'm registered as an Independent.
See also: camp, follower

a camp follower

You call someone a camp follower when they follow or spend time with a particular person or group, either because they admire or support them, or because they hope to gain advantages from them. Brecht was surrounded by `camp-followers' — crowds of women who seemed to adore him. Even in my day as a player, we had our camp followers. Note: This expression is often used to show disapproval. Note: Originally, camp followers were civilians who travelled with an army and who made their living selling goods or services to the soldiers.
See also: camp, follower
References in periodicals archive ?
It is hard to think of General Nathanael Greene, one of Washington's most brilliant fighters who also served as quartermaster general from 1778 to 1780, as a camp follower.