verb (used without object), hi·ber·nat·ed, hi·ber·nat·ing.
- Zoology. to spend the winter in close quarters in a dormant condition, as bears and certain other animals.Compare estivate.
- to withdraw or be in seclusion; retire.
- to winter in a place with a milder climate: Each winter finds us hibernating in Florida.
- (of some mammals, reptiles, and amphibians) to pass the winter in a dormant condition with metabolism greatly slowed downCompare aestivate
- to cease from activity
1802, probably a back-formation from hibernation. Related: Hibernated; hibernating.