verb (used without object), hi·ber·nat·ed, hi·ber·nat·ing.

  1. Zoology. to spend the winter in close quarters in a dormant condition, as bears and certain other animals.Compare estivate.
  2. to withdraw or be in seclusion; retire.
  3. to winter in a place with a milder climate: Each winter finds us hibernating in Florida.

verb (intr)

  1. (of some mammals, reptiles, and amphibians) to pass the winter in a dormant condition with metabolism greatly slowed downCompare aestivate
  2. to cease from activity

1802, probably a back-formation from hibernation. Related: Hibernated; hibernating.

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