brumation

noun
bru·​ma·​tion | \ brü-ˈmā-shən How to pronounce brumation (audio) \

Definition of brumation

: a state or condition of sluggishness, inactivity, or torpor exhibited by reptiles (such as snakes or lizards) during winter or extended periods of low temperature This subterranean torpor is not a true hibernation … but a cold-blooded version of slowing down called brumation. — Keith Winsten, Florida Today (Brevard County), 22 Nov. 2008

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of brumation

1965, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for brumation

Latin brūma “winter solstice, midwinter” + (hibern)ation

Note: Term introduced by the American zoologist Wilbur W. Mayhew (born 1920) in “Hibernation in the Horned Lizard Phrynosoma m’calli,” Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, vol. 16, no. 1 (September, 1965), pp. 116: “ … it seems advisable to have one term to designate winter dormancy in heterotherms and another for such [in] ectotherms. Hibernation has been used to denote this condition in heterotherms particularly, so it seems best to retain this term for that group of vertebrates. Therefore, I propose the terms brumation (from bruma, L. winter) to indicate winter dormancy in ectothermic vertebrates that demonstrate physiological changes which are independent of body temperature.”

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about brumation

Time Traveler for brumation

Time Traveler

The first known use of brumation was in 1965

See more words from the same year

Statistics for brumation

Cite this Entry

“Brumation.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brumation. Accessed 19 January 2020.

Comments on brumation

What made you want to look up brumation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to insert between existing elements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!