from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Biology A protective case, covering, or structure, such as a plant bud, in which an organism remains dormant for the winter.
  • n. Biology The shelter of a hibernating animal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The place where a hibernating animal shelters for the winter
  • n. A bud, case, or protective covering that a plant uses to survive the challenging environmental conditions during a dormancy period.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A winter bud, in which the rudimentary foliage or flower, as of most trees and shrubs in the temperate zone, is protected by closely overlapping scales.
  • n. A little case in which certain insects pass the winter.
  • n. Winter home or abiding place.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as hibernacle, 1.
  • n. In dot., any part of a plant which protects an embryonic organ during the winter, as a bud or bulb. Also hibernacle.
  • n. In zoology: One of the winter buds of a polyzoan; an arrested and encysted polyzoön-bud capable of surviving the winter and germinating in the following spring.
  • n. The false opercule or pseudoperculum of a snail.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin hībernāculum, winter residence, from hībernāre, to winter, from hībernus, relating to winter; see ghei- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin for winter quarters.


  • Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks Researchers studied a bear, like this one, in an artificial den called a hibernaculum.

    NPR Topics: News

  • Researchers studied a bear, like this one, in an artificial den called a hibernaculum.

    NPR Topics: News

  • "I'm going to read this objective out loud, just because I want to say 'hibernaculum' a few times."

    grouse Diary Entry

  • In this habitat, or hibernaculum as we call it, the bats cluster in groups of four to five on the ceiling.

    Going Mutant

  • Only Kap sets his hibernaculum so that he awakens as soon as his partner is asleep.

    Thirst No. 3

  • When discussing whether the cave is a hibernaculum (place where bats hibernate for the winter), or maternity cave (where females raise their young), the biologist expressed her unscientific surprise that almost all the bats found in the cave are "boy bats".

    grouse Diary Entry

  • Even Kitani's face was blurring, though he had seen her in the hibernaculum only a week ago.

    The Songs of Distant Earth

  • The woodchuck is in his hibernaculum, the skunk in his, the mole in his; and the black bear has his selected, and will go in when the snow comes.

    Winter Sunshine

  • You have not come out of your hibernaculum too early or too late; the time is ripe, and, if you do not keep pace with the rest, why, the fault is not in the season.

    Birds and Poets : with Other Papers

  • These behaviours include flying outside during the day when their insect prey is not available in sub-zero temperatures, or clustering near the entrance to the hibernaculum.

    BBC News - Home


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  • winter retreat

    January 10, 2018

  • “Set into a mountainside in the town of Dorset, Aeolus Cave used to be the largest bat hibernaculum in New England.”

    The New Yorker, Postcard From Vermont: Batless, by Elizabeth Kolbert, March 29, 2010

    April 17, 2010

  • the lightless hibernaculum

    Where bees, striped black and gold, sleep out the blizzard

    (from "Electra on Azalea Path," Sylvia Plath)

    April 6, 2008

  • Great word--but awful story.

    March 26, 2008

  • "Al Hicks was standing outside an old mine in the Adirondacks, the largest bat hibernaculum, or winter resting place, in New York State."

    The New York Times, March 25, 2008, "Bats Perish, and No One Knows Why," by Tina Kelley

    March 25, 2008