What is the origin of the phrase "hive of activity?"

  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The phrase comes from a beehive, where bees live. Bees are traditionally considered to be very active. There is also an expression "as busy as a bee."

    I don't know what its oldest recorded use is, though. You might find it in the Oxford English Dictionary if you have access to it. Or, someone else here might know.


    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    The OED gives no quotation with exactly "hive of activity"; the closest thing to it is...
    "A private shipyard is a hive of industry" (1863), if you want "hive of [something]".
    Earlier, it gives quotations with a figurative hive, like "...this great Hive, the City" (1647).