Definition of hibernaculum
: a shelter occupied during the winter by a dormant animal (as an insect, snake, bat, or marmot)
hibernaculum was our Word of the Day on 12/06/2013. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
If you're afraid of snakes or bats, you probably won't enjoy thinking about a hibernaculum, where hundreds, even thousands, of these creatures might be passing the wintry months. Other creatures also use hibernacula, though many of these tend to be a bit inconspicuous. The word hibernaculum has been used for the burrow of a woodchuck, for instance, as well as for a cozy caterpillar cocoon attached to a wintry twig, and for the spot in which a frog has buried itself in the mud. Hibernacula are all around us and have been around for a long, long time, but we have only called them such since 1789. In case you are wondering, "hibernate" didn't come into being until the beginning of the 19th century. Both words come from Latin hibernare, meaning "to pass the winter."
Origin and Etymology of hibernaculum
New Latin, from Latin, winter residence, from hibernare
First Known Use: 1770
Learn More about hibernaculum
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hibernaculum
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