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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.
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