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[hi-ber-neyt] /ˈhɪ bərˌneɪt/
verb (used without object), hibernated, hibernating.
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
1795-1805; < Latin hībernātus (past participle of hībernāre to spend the winter). See hibernal, -ate1
Related forms
hibernation, noun
hibernator, noun
posthibernation, adjective
semihibernation, noun
Can be confused
estivate, hibernate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for hibernate


verb (intransitive)
(of some mammals, reptiles, and amphibians) to pass the winter in a dormant condition with metabolism greatly slowed down Compare aestivate
to cease from activity
Derived Forms
hibernation, noun
hibernator, noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for hibernate

1802, probably a back-formation from hibernation. Related: Hibernated; hibernating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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