hibernate

verb
hi·​ber·​nate | \ ˈhī-bər-ˌnāt \
hibernated; hibernating

Definition of hibernate

intransitive verb

1 : to pass the winter in a torpid or resting state bears hibernating in their dens
2 : to be or become inactive or dormant let the computer hibernate

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Other Words from hibernate

hibernation \ ˌhī-​bər-​ˈnā-​shən \ noun
hibernator \ ˈhī-​bər-​ˌnā-​tər \ noun

Examples of hibernate in a Sentence

bears hibernating in their dens

Recent Examples on the Web

When these and other bat species hibernate in caves — for example, in Missouri and other states — the fungus found in caves grows, accumulates on their noses and rouses them from their slumber. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Lake County bat monitoring program hopes to prevent fungus killing critical mammal," 23 Apr. 2018 Luckily, wasps' drunk and belligerent behavior doesn’t last long—once the weather gets cold, the entire colony will die and the queens will hibernate until the drama starts all over again. Megan Friedman, Popular Mechanics, "Watch Out: Wasps Are Apparently Drunk and Angry This Time of Year," 10 Aug. 2018 In some cases, bears are not hibernating at all, staying awake all winter. New York Times, "As Winter Warms, Bears Can’t Sleep. And They’re Getting Into Trouble.," 4 May 2018 In some cases, bears are not hibernating at all, staying awake all winter. New York Times, "As Winter Warms, Bears Can’t Sleep. And They’re Getting Into Trouble.," 4 May 2018 In some cases, bears are not hibernating at all, staying awake all winter. Anchorage Daily News, "As winter warms, bears can’t sleep. And they’re getting into trouble.," 5 May 2018 They'd been kept cool enough to hibernate until her performance but hadn't warmed up enough to wake up and fly away when the moment came. Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY, "And the winner of 'RuPaul's Drag Race' is ... not Asia after her failed butterfly stunt," 29 June 2018 Organs essentially hibernate, not frozen but cold enough to slow cellular activity and thus their deterioration. Washington Post, "Warming, not cooling, donated livers may improve transplants," 18 Apr. 2018 Groundhog Day Chili Cookoff: Don’t hibernate this winter! Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Weekend guide: Free Milwaukee County Zoo day, LEGO competition and Groundhog Day events," 31 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hibernate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hibernate

1816, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hibernate

Latin hibernatus, past participle of hibernare to pass the winter, from hibernus of winter; akin to Latin hiems winter, Greek cheimōn

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Statistics for hibernate

Last Updated

20 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hibernate

The first known use of hibernate was in 1816

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More Definitions for hibernate

hibernate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of hibernate

of an animal : to spend the winter sleeping or resting

hibernate

verb
hi·​ber·​nate | \ ˈhī-bər-ˌnāt \
hibernated; hibernating

Kids Definition of hibernate

: to pass all or part of the winter in an inactive state in which the body temperature drops and breathing slows

Other Words from hibernate

hibernator \ -​ˌnāt-​ər \ noun

hibernate

intransitive verb
hi·​ber·​nate | \ ˈhī-bər-ˌnāt \
hibernated; hibernating

Medical Definition of hibernate

: to pass the winter in a torpid or resting state especially : to pass the winter in a torpid condition in which the body temperature drops to a little above freezing and metabolic activity is reduced nearly to zero — compare estivate

Other Words from hibernate

hibernation \ ˌhī-​bər-​ˈnā-​shən \ noun
hibernator \ ˈhī-​bər-​ˌnāt-​ər \ noun

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Comments on hibernate

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