noun (used with a singular or plural verb) Pathology.

any of various eruptive conditions of the skin, as the wheals of urticaria.

Origin of hives

1490–1500; orig. Scots; of obscure origin




a shelter constructed for housing a colony of honeybees; beehive.
the colony of bees inhabiting a hive.
something resembling a beehive in structure or use.
a place swarming with busy occupants: a hive of industry.
a swarming or teeming multitude.

verb (used with object), hived, hiv·ing.

to gather into or cause to enter a hive.
to shelter as in a hive.
to store up in a hive.
to store or lay away for future use or enjoyment.

verb (used without object), hived, hiv·ing.

(of bees) to enter a hive.
to live together in or as in a hive.

Verb Phrases

hive off, British. to become transferred from the main body of a commercial or industrial enterprise through the agency of new ownership.

Origin of hive

before 900; Middle English; Old English hȳf; akin to Old Norse hūfr ship's hull, Latin cūpa vat
Related formshive·less, adjectivehive·like, adjectivehiv·er, noun

Synonyms for hive

4. hub, center. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for hives

colony, swarm, beehive

Examples from the Web for hives

Contemporary Examples of hives

Historical Examples of hives

British Dictionary definitions for hives



(functioning as singular or plural) pathol a nontechnical name for urticaria

Word Origin for hives

C16: of uncertain origin



a structure in which social bees live and rear their young
a colony of social bees
a place showing signs of great industry (esp in the phrase a hive of activity)
a teeming crowd; multitude
an object in the form of a hive


to cause (bees) to collect or (of bees) to collect inside a hive
to live or cause to live in or as if in a hive
(tr) (of bees) to store (honey, pollen, etc) in the hive
(tr; often foll by up or away) to store, esp for future usehe used to hive away a small sum every week
Derived Formshivelike, adjective

Word Origin for hive

Old English hӯf; related to Westphalian hüwe, Old Norse hūfr ship's hull, Latin cūpa barrel, Greek kupē, Sanskrit kūpa cave
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 hives

c.1500 hyvis "itchy condition of the skin," origin unknown. Some writers connect it with heave because hives erupt out from the skin, but the phonetics of that are difficult to explain.



Old English hyf "beehive," from Proto-Germanic *hufiz (cf. Old Norse hufr "hull of a ship"), from PIE *keup- "round container, bowl" (cf. Sanskrit kupah "hollow, pit, cave," Greek kypellon "cup," Latin cupa "tub, cask, vat"). Figurative sense of "swarming, busy place" is from 1630s. As a verb, of bees, etc., "to form themselves into a hive," c.1400; "to put bees in a hive," mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hives in Medicine




The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

hives in Science



A skin condition characterized by transient, itching welts, usually resulting from an allergic reaction.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

hives in Culture


A condition characterized by the sudden appearance of red, raised areas on the skin that itch severely. Hives may be caused by an allergic reaction (see allergy) to foods or other substances.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.