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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Hives \Hives\, n. [Scot.; perh. akin to E. heave.] (Med.)

  1. The croup.

  2. An eruptive disease (Varicella globularis), allied to the chicken pox.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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.


Etymology 1 n. itchy, swollen, red areas of the skin which can appear quickly in response to an allergen or due to other conditions. Etymology 2

n. (plural of hive English) vb. (en-third-person singular of: hive)


n. an itchy skin eruption characterized by weals with pale interiors and well-defined red margins; usually the result of an allergic response to insect bites or food or drugs [syn: urtication, urticaria, nettle rash]


Hives also known as urticaria, is a kind of skin rash with red, raised, itchy bumps. They may also burn or sting. Often the patches of rash move around. Typically they last a few days and do not leave any long lasting skin changes. Less than 5% of cases last for more than six weeks. The condition frequently recurs.

Hives frequently occur following an infection or as a result of an allergic reaction such as to medication, insect bites, or food. Psychological stress, cold temperature, or vibration may also be a trigger. In half of cases the cause remains unknown. Risk factors include having conditions such as hay fever or asthma. Diagnosis is typically based on the appearance. Patch testing may be useful to determine the allergy.

Prevention is by avoiding whatever it is that causes the condition. Treatment is typically with antihistamines such as diphenhydramine and ranitidine. In severe cases steroids or leukotriene inhibitors may also be used. Keeping the environmental temperature cool is also useful. For cases that last more than six weeks immunosuppressants like cyclosporine may be used.

About 20% of people are affected. Cases of short duration occur equally in males and females while cases of long duration are more common in females. Cases of short duration or more common among children while cases of long duration are more common among those who are middle aged. Hives have been described at least since the time of Hippocrates. The term urticaria is from the Latin urtica meaning "nettle".

Hives (film)

Hives is a 2012 Croatian anthology film. It had its national premiere at the 59th Pula Film Festival (Croatia) and its international premiere at the 60th San Sebastián International Film Festival (Spain).

Usage examples of "hives".

The reason the honey was so universally prized did not lie in the flowers the bees visited, but in the fact that Hymettan apiarists never smoked their hives when gathering the honey.

This development was secret however, and the wealth of its power was given over solely to TwoPi, the most numerous and advanced of the Hives, and to Arachno Buckminster Mouze, a physicist - if such a term could encompass as many spheres of hard science as could be imagined.

His face appeared to be swollen with a disabling case of the hives, large round lumps from forehead to chin and ear to ear, and there were long, diagonal welts, too, that burned an angry red against his pale skin.