Hibernate = invernar

I was speaking Spanish to my friend from Mexico and he mentioned something about bears “invernando”. I immediately made the connection and realized that this meant “hibernating”, and I was completely mindblown because I had never made the connection between those two words before! They actually look quite similar:


Of course, we have to take into account the silent h, and the b-v change… but you can kind of see how the words are drawn from the same root.

It also makes total sense, since “invierno” means winter.

Upon further research, I discovered that “hibernar” is also an acceptable translation, though I’m not sure which one is more common.


Hi @charhew!
These two words are tricky, and they do not mean the same.

The definition found when you look up the word hibernar in the DRAE is: “Pasar el invierno, especialmente en estado de hibernación.” That would be the equivalent to hibernate. We can even look up the word hibernación to make sure.
“Estado fisiológico que se presenta en ciertos mamíferos como adaptación a condiciones invernales extremas, con descenso de la temperatura corporal hasta cerca de 0° y disminución general de las funciones metabólicas” more definitions here

So both of these words make reference to the state of rest or almost inaction animals go through during winter.

Now, when we look up the word invernar, we find in the DRAE, “Pasar el invierno en un lugar.” Also in “Diccionario de la Naturaleza de Mónica Aceytuno” we find, “Pasar el invierno, no necesariamente en estado de somnolencia o hibernación, sino en algún lugar favorable como los pastos de invernadero que se dan durante el invierno […]”. here
So that means the equivalent word in English would be to winter.

I cannot understand why when we try to translate the words from Spanish to English hibernate seems to be the only equivalent for both. Also, some of us native Spanish speakers mix these words up and that also leads to confusion. :woman_shrugging:t5: I hope this was helpful.
Regards :raising_hand_woman:t5: