\ ˈhīv \

Definition of hive 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a container for housing honeybees
b : the usually aboveground nest of bees
2 : a colony of bees
3 : a place swarming with activity


hived; hiving

Definition of hive (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 of bees : to enter and take possession of a hive
2 : to reside in close association

transitive verb

1 : to collect into a hive
2 : to store up in or as if in a hive

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Other Words from hive


hiveless \ ˈhīv-​ləs \ adjective

Examples of hive in a Sentence


The house was a hive of activity as we prepared for the party.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Melipona Honey The ancient Mayans were experts at cultivating this rare honey, which is only harvested once a year from the hives of stingless bees. Christina Perez, Harper's BAZAAR, "These Ancient Rituals Should Be Your New Go-To Beauty Treatments," 15 Oct. 2018 Towards the end of the January transfer window, Chelsea was like a hive of transfer activity linked with numerous target men in their search for a new striker., "Football Pundit Believes Antonio Conte 'Did Not Push' for Olivier Giroud Signing," 7 Feb. 2018 If cheesy tourist gift shops give you hives, One Mercantile is the antidote. Kaitlyn Wylde, Vogue, "What’s So Great About Great Barrington? A Weekend Guide to the Quietly Cool Berkshire Town," 25 Oct. 2018 Those who are, Charlie invites upstairs, shows them the hives, invites them to learn beekeeping. Crocker Stephenson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Better Angels: Consider the humble honeybee," 2 Jan. 2018 Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge Tesla’s Fremont factory is a hive of action. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla will live and die by the Gigafactory," 30 Nov. 2018 There's a large blue woman reclining on the side of a mountain (see below) by Lita Albuquerque; a metallic mixed media piece that looks like recorders fused into a sink by Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig; even a hive of honeybees. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "Art Safiental Is a Massive Sculpture Exhibit in the Swiss Alps," 10 Aug. 2018 Colony-collapse disorder—the decimation of entire hives—has been a worrisome problem worldwide. Junot Díaz, The New Yorker, "The Maraschino Mogul’s Secret Life," 17 Apr. 2018 That includes Varrora mites, which suck bees’ blood to survive and have been reported in more than 42 percent of commercial hives, Newsweek reports. Jared Gilmour, sacbee, "Scientists studied ‘lazy lawn mowers.’ It turns out they’re saving the bees, study finds | The Sacramento Bee," 14 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Several ministers have expressed worry that an insurance policy—or backstop—could come at the possible cost of hiving Northern Ireland off from U.K. rules and regulations. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "May Seeks Backing for Draft Brexit Deal From Doubtful Allies," 13 Nov. 2018 The Whole Foods hives join a small but growing effort trying to help in urban Boise, such as the apiary on the BSU campus and the hives at the Boise Urban Garden School. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "Why are these 250,000 bees hanging out on this sweet Downtown Boise rooftop?," 11 July 2018 Urban donates the honey from the Let's Grown Akron hives to sell at the farmers market to support the organization and provide a healthy sugar alternative. Megan Becka,, "Urban Honey Bee thrives thanks to Akron business partnerships," 2 Apr. 2018 Instead what is most often advocated is hiving off as much political life as possible from the influence of ignorant voters and giving it to experts instead. Sheri Berman, Washington Post, "Some argue that the West should limit democracy to save liberalism. Here’s why they’re wrong.," 18 July 2017 Southern drug store chain Fred’s, which had stood to gain national scale by buying the stores that Walgreens was hiving off to satisfy possible antitrust concerns, also fell 22%. Alan Murray, Fortune, "CEO Daily: Friday, 30th June," 30 June 2017 Starboard Value LP took a stake and called on Macy’s to hive off its valuable real estate, which the activist investor says is worth more than $20 billion. Dow Jones News Service, Twin Cities, "Saks owner Hudson’s Bay makes takeover approach to Macy’s," 3 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hive


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for hive


Middle English, from Old English hȳf; perhaps akin to Old Norse hūfr ship's hull, Latin cūpa tub, Sanskrit kūpa cave

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Dictionary Entries near hive





hive bee

hive body

hive mind

Statistics for hive

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hive

The first known use of hive was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for hive



English Language Learners Definition of hive

: a nest for bees

: the bees living in a hive

: a place filled with busy activity


\ ˈhīv \

Kids Definition of hive

1 : a container for housing honeybees
2 : the usually aboveground nest of bees
3 : a colony of bees
4 : a place filled with busy people


\ ˈhīv \

Medical Definition of hive 

: the raised edematous red patch of skin or mucous membrane characteristic of hives : an urticarial wheal

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More from Merriam-Webster on hive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hive

Spanish Central: Translation of hive

Nglish: Translation of hive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hive for Arabic Speakers

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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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