Definition of hibernate in English:


See synonyms for hibernate

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intransitive verb

[no object]
  • 1(of an animal or plant) spend the winter in a dormant state.

    ‘some species hibernate in tree roosts’
    • ‘Hedgehogs are active only at night, and some species hibernate in the winter.’
    • ‘Dwarf lemurs store up fat in their tails and then draw on it while hibernating; in contrast, no monkey or ape hibernates.’
    • ‘In consequence many species hibernate during the winter, emerging only when the signs of spring promise plenty of food, telling them it is time to eat and breed again.’
    • ‘At our study site, lizards hibernate from about September or October until April.’
    • ‘Most snakes hibernate underground in the winter and live off stored body fat.’
    • ‘While most of the community's bears hibernated for the winter back in December, there are still a handful of bears wide awake and looking for food in North Shore residential neighbourhoods.’
    • ‘Animals that hibernate in winter often suffer a crisis in the Spring as their fat reserves are burnt up before the end of the bad weather.’
    • ‘In winter, the trees are bare and animals are hibernating, so food is scarce.’
    • ‘Bears hibernate, which means they need to produce much less energy all winter.’
    • ‘About ten days later, or the next spring for those that hibernate in the winter as pupae, the adult emerges, starting the cycle over.’
    • ‘They are territorial and do not hibernate during the winter, but rather forage below the snow and on vegetation that was collected and stored in a haypile at the end of the summer.’
    • ‘They only need the pond for breeding purposes in the spring (though frogs often hibernate in the water).’
    • ‘Madagascar, a large, tropical island off the east coast of Africa, isn't the kind of place you'd expect to find a mammal that hibernates.’
    • ‘Most puzzling among them are several species that hibernate even when the weather is warm.’
    • ‘This all-round food availability also means that sloth bears have no need to hibernate through the winter months.’
    • ‘It lives as long as seven years, hibernating in winter and laying eggs in the spring.’
    • ‘M. lucifugus is a small, insectivorous bat that hibernates in caves and abandoned mines, relying entirely on stored body fat during the prolonged winter period when flying insects are inactive.’
    • ‘They are diurnal and appear not to hibernate despite the harsh winters of many of their habitats.’
    • ‘The black bears hibernate almost half the year, a stint of inactivity that in almost all other species would almost certainly result in a major reduction in bone density.’
    • ‘Contrary to popular opinion, red squirrels do not hibernate over winter.’
    lie dormant, lie torpid, sleep, winter, overwinter, hole up
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of a person) remain inactive or indoors for an extended period.
      ‘the pilots who have been hibernating during the winter months get their gliders out again’
      • ‘Its winter, its cold, people are hibernating already.’
      • ‘So we mostly hibernated away with our ever growing dvd collection, except for new year's when we ventured out in the pouring rain to the That Amazing Thing party in a nice old pub tucked away off Chapel Street.’
      • ‘I need a cold, dark room where I can hibernate for the next four months in my coat, scarf and thick black tights and sip cups of hot soup.’
      • ‘During winter I usually hibernate to the point of feeling quite out of touch with most of my friends.’
      • ‘It's depressing if you don't have a girlfriend to hibernate with.’
      • ‘She has the impression that I'm depressed because I essentially hibernate and do artsy stuff.’
      • ‘Once again winter is upon us, and with it comes the cold and the desire to hibernate and stay indoors in front of the heater.’
      • ‘I spend so much of the rest of the week with people, that I tend to hibernate on the seventh day.’
      • ‘Older people who hibernate during these chilly months could lose stamina, strength, and flexibility.’
      • ‘Apart from cleaning my room I've been staying indoors and hibernating.’
      • ‘When you most feel like hibernating and avoiding people, force yourself to get dressed and be with others.’
      • ‘The cold winter months might seem like a good time to crawl under the covers and hibernate, especially in these uncertain times.’



/ˈhībərˌnāt/ /ˈhaɪbərˌneɪt/


Early 19th century (earlier (mid 17th century) as hibernation): from Latin hibernare, from hiberna ‘winter quarters’, from hibernus ‘wintry’.