To hibernate in Italian

How do you translate the expression to hibernate in Italian?

In this lesson, we’ll take a look at this very expression, also known as collocation, and we will even talk about what some animals do when they sleep through winter (or not).

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!

To hibernate in Italian

First of all, let’s translate to hibernate in Italian.

Andare in letargo
To hibernate

boy hibernating in a cave

To hibernate in Italian – Let’s break it down!

Andare in letargo can literally be translated as to go in hibernation.

To go

Preposition “in”


Le lucertole vanno in letargo.
Lizards hibernate.

lizard facing right

Andare is a verb of the first -are group. It’s a very irregular verb. Its indicativo presente conjugation is as follows.

lui, leiva

Title: Italian All-in-One For Dummies
Language: English / Italian
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 672

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Andare is a verb used in a variety of other Italian expressions. Here are a few:

Andare avanti e indietro
To pace back and forth

Andare a rotoli
To fail, to be ruined

Andare a piedi
To go on foot, to walk

Andare di fretta
To be in a hurry

For example, you could say:

Vado spesso a scuola a piedi.
I often walk to school.

Perché la gente va sempre così di fretta?
Why are people always in such a hurry?

Il soldato va avanti e indietro per il corridoio.
The soldier paces back and forth down the corridor.

happy girl walking to school


We said that the translation for to hibernate in Italian is andare in letargo. Letargo is a masculine noun. It’s not a very common noun and its plural form, letarghi, is even less common.

Letargo can also mean “inertia, lethargy” to describe someone who’s a bit asleep on their feet, or something that is not moving fast enough, as in…

Il settore manifatturiero è in letargo da mesi.
The manufacturing sector has been hibernating for months.

Martaaa! Non andare in letargo!
Martaaa! Don’t hibernate!

woman sleeping on the job

Some animal species don’t hibernate. Among them, you can find butterflies, farfalle and bees, api. Or also ants, formiche.

Le farfalle vanno in letargo?
Do butterflies hibernate?

Some animals that do hibernate are squirrels, scoiattoli, bears, orsi, and groundhogs, marmotte.

When an animal hibernates, its heartbeat, battito cardiaco, slows down, and its body temperature, temperatura corporea, drops. They will sleep right through winter.

Il battito cardiaco
The heartbeat

La temperatura corporea
The body temperature

man's body temperature being scanned

To hibernate in Italian – Examples

L’orso si prepara ad andare in letargo per l’inverno.
The bear prepares to hibernate for the winter.

Siamo a gennaio. Tutti i ghiri sono andati in letargo.
It is now January. All the dormice have hibernated.

Quando gli animali escono dal letargo, vanno subito in cerca di cibo.
When animals emerge from hibernation, they immediately go in search of food.

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