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.

1795–1805; < Latin hībernātus (past participle of hībernāre to spend the winter). See hibernal, -ate1

hibernation, noun
hibernator, noun
posthibernation, adjective
semihibernation, noun

estivate, hibernate.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
hibernate (ˈhaɪbəˌneɪt)
1.  Compare aestivate (of some mammals, reptiles, and amphibians) to pass the winter in a dormant condition with metabolism greatly slowed down
2.  to cease from activity
[C19: from Latin hībernāre to spend the winter, from hībernus of winter, from hiems winter]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1664, from L. hibernationem (nom. hibernatio "the action of passing the winter," from hibernare "to winter," from hiems "winter," from PIE *gheim- "snow, winter" (cf. Skt. heman "in winter," Hittite gimmanza, Gk. kheima, O.C.S. zima, Lith. ziema "winter"). Hibernate is first attested 1802.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
hibernation   (hī'bər-nā'shən)  Pronunciation Key 
An inactive state resembling deep sleep in which certain animals living in cold climates pass the winter. In hibernation, the body temperature is lowered and breathing and heart rates slow down. Hibernation protects the animal from cold and reduces the need for food during the season when food is scarce. Compare estivation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

hibernation definition

Passing the winter in a sleeping or inactive condition. Bears, ground squirrels, woodchucks, and several other kinds of animals hibernate.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
It is unlikely this was hibernation in the zoological sense.
The disease disorients bats, disturbing their sleep and causing them to fly
  when they normally don't, during hibernation.
Global warming is disrupting many hibernation schedules, sometimes with deadly
Grizzlies aren't as much interested in the protein in salmon as in the fat,
  which fuels their high-energy winter hibernation.
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