but we never hived any of them

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sami33

Senior Member
arabic
Hello,

Please, what does "hived" mean in this context?


We played robber now and then about a month, and then I resigned. All the boys did. We hadn't robbed nobody, hadn't killed any people, but only just pretended. We used to hop out of the woods and go charging down on hog-drivers and women in carts taking garden stuff to market, but we never hived any of them.



Source: HUCKLEBERRY FINN


Thanks.
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Hello, sami33. :)

    The Annotated Huckleberry Finn: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's Comrade)
    tells us what the context suggests: hived means "robbed."

    (published by W. W. Norton & Company, 2001)

    The OED tells us that "hive" was used with the meaning 'to store something away', but I can find no dictionary definition that gives the meaning 'robbed'. I assume it was slang or colloquial at the time Mark Twain was writing.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    It did occur to me that it might be a typo, but I have checked all the established editions -- including the academic edition I cite -- and they have 'hived'.

    The note I cite above continues with another example of the use of 'hive' meaning, taking away,
    "Describing the old days in 'Hannibal, a Native Historian' (Alta California, May 26, 1867), Twain made an atrocious pun by saying that 'the scarlet fever came, and the hives, and between them they came near hiving all the children in the camp.' "
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    No, in this second example, Mark Twain is making a joke by playing with two meanings of hives.
    'the scarlet fever came, and the hives, and between them they came near hiving all the children in the camp.' "

    hives: a kind of disease (or rather the red bumps that you get from some illnesses).
    hiving: stealing, taking away.

    The sicknesses (scarlet fever and hives) stole the children, took them away. [= The children died.]
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    hives: a kind of disease (or rather the red bumps that you get from some illnesses
    In that sense, I'm familiar only with a quite specific meaning: the rash of a skin reaction due to allergy. (I don't believe the rashes of measles and chickenpox were ever referred to as "hives".)
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Yes, you are right. I was trying to gloss over the difference in the interests of concision.

    (One problem is that I would have thought that hives in themselves are not fatal, so that part of the joke doesn't make sense. But perhaps I am mistaken in that. Or, at least as likely, that is part of the joke.)
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    In that sense, I'm familiar only with a quite specific meaning: the rash of a skin reaction due to allergy. (I don't believe the rashes of measles and chickenpox were ever referred to as "hives".)
    It was used to mean "chicken pox." From the entry "hives, n." in the Oxford English Dictionary:

    applied to red-gum or Strophulus, chicken-pox, nettle-rash; also, inflammation of the bowels or Enteritis (bowel-hives), and inflammation of the larynx, croup, or Laryngitis.


    ...


    1886 New Sydenham Soc. Lexicon, Hives, a popular name for the globular species of Varicella, or chicken-pox..also, any skin eruption; also, a synonym of Urticaria; also, a name for Croup.
    I wonder if "hived" is a form of "heaved." "Under its entry for "heave," the OED shows an obsolete thieves' cant usage of "heave" meaning "To 'lift', to rob."
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    It was used to mean "chicken pox." From the entry "hives, n." in the Oxford English Dictionary:
    Thank you. That gives the sentence good sense. :)
    I wonder if "hived" is a form of "heaved." "Under its entry for "heave," the OED shows an obsolete thieves' cant usage of "heave" meaning "To 'lift', to rob."
    Possibly, but this is what the Online Etymology Dictionary has to say about 'hives' (the noun). The same doubt may apply to hive (the verb).

    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.
     
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