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  1. a round farm basket of wicker or wood.
  2. Also skepful. the amount contained in a skep.
  3. a beehive, especially of straw.

Origin of skep

before 1100; Middle English skeppe, late Old English sceppe < Old Norse skeppa half-bushel; akin to German Scheffel
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for skep

Historical Examples

  • He snatched the lanthorn Joe carried, held it down, and stepped off the skep.

    Sappers and Miners

    George Manville Fenn

  • And if I had been wearing a scarlet garter I would have tied it round their skep.

    Memoirs of a Midget

    Walter de la Mare

  • This skep (a beehive made of woven straw) was made in the 1950s but is of a sort that has been used since ancient times.

  • “Quickly as you can,” shouted the Colonel, as the skep went down; but the engineer shook his head.

    Sappers and Miners

    George Manville Fenn

  • “Now, then, lower away;” and as he spoke he stooped down quickly seized the dog by the collar, and swung him out of the skep.

    Sappers and Miners

    George Manville Fenn

British Dictionary definitions for skep


  1. a beehive, esp one constructed of straw
  2. mainly dialect a large basket of wickerwork or straw

Word Origin

Old English sceppe, from Old Norse skeppa bushel; related to Old High German sceffil bushel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for skep


quantity measure for grain, etc.; basket, grain receptacle, c.1100, from Old Norse skeppa "basket, bushel." Related: Skepful.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper