es·​ti·​vate ˈe-stə-ˌvāt How to pronounce estivate (audio)
variants or aestivate
estivated or aestivated; estivating or aestivating; estivates or aestivates

intransitive verb

zoology : to pass the summer in a state of torpor or dormancy
Snails combat desiccation by estivating, that is, burrowing into the mud and sealing up the shell with mucus until conditions improve.Mark Woolhouse
compare hibernate
: to spend the summer usually at one place
… I asked him to Skype in from the Connecticut coastline, where he is estivating while on a prestigious writing fellowship …Glen Weldon

Examples of estivate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Depending on the species, African lungfish estivate after burrowing into the soil to find permanent moisture, or even secreting their own comfy mucus onesie. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 13 Mar. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'estivate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of estivate was circa 1623

Dictionary Entries Near estivate

Cite this Entry

“Estivate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


variants also aestivate
estivated; estivating
: to pass the summer in an inactive or resting state
estivation noun
also aestivation

Medical Definition


intransitive verb
variants or aestivate
estivated; estivating
: to pass the summer in a state of torpor or dormancy compare hibernate

More from Merriam-Webster on estivate

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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