[ hi-ber-neyt ]
/ ˈhɪ bərˌneɪt /

verb (used without object), hi·ber·nat·ed, hi·ber·nat·ing.

Zoology. to spend the winter in close quarters in a dormant condition, as bears and certain other animals.Compare estivate.
to withdraw or be in seclusion; retire.
to winter in a place with a milder climate: Each winter finds us hibernating in Florida.

Origin of hibernate

First recorded in 1795–1805, hibernate is from the Latin word hībernātus (past participle of hībernāre to spend the winter). See hibernal, -ate1

Related forms

hi·ber·na·tion, nounhi·ber·na·tor, nounpost·hi·ber·na·tion, adjectivesem·i·hi·ber·na·tion, noun

Can be confused

estivate hibernate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hibernate

British Dictionary definitions for hibernate


/ (ˈhaɪbəˌneɪt) /

verb (intr)

(of some mammals, reptiles, and amphibians) to pass the winter in a dormant condition with metabolism greatly slowed downCompare aestivate
to cease from activity

Derived Forms

hibernation, nounhibernator, noun

Word Origin for hibernate

C19: from Latin hībernāre to spend the winter, from hībernus of winter, from hiems winter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012