There is no definitive shape for a beehive skep; here are some examples, plus some crude wooden hives.


Late Old English sceppe, from Old Norse skeppa (basket). Cognate with Danish skæppe (an old Danish unit of measure equalling 17.4 l).


  • IPA(key): /ˈskɛp/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛp


skep (plural skeps)

  1. A basket.
    • 1956, Anthony Burgess, Time for a Tiger (The Malayan Trilogy), published 1972, page 115:
      Old women crouched over bags of Siamese rice, skeps of red and green peppers, purple egg-plants, bristly rambutans, pineapples, durians.
  2. A beehive made of straw or wicker.
    • 1958 John Crompton: A Hive of Bees
      Three of the hives had been overturned and the others had been rocked to and fro. The modern hive is a fearful thing to upset; the combs are not static as in a skep, but hang loosely: when the hive is overturned they smash and pile up like a telescoped train.
    • 1977, Patrick O'Brian, The Mauritius Command
      He prised a skep from its stool and held it out, inverted, showing the dirty wreck of combs, with the vile grubs spinning their cocoons.
    • 2020, Maggie O'Farrell, Hamnet
      She installs seven skeps at the furthest edge of the garden; on warm July days it is possible to hear the restless rumble of the bees from the house.

Derived termsEdit


See alsoEdit

Old FrisianEdit

Ēn skēp.


From Proto-West Germanic *skāp, from Proto-Germanic *skēpą. Cognates include Old English sċēap, Old Saxon skāp and Old Dutch scāp.


  • IPA(key): /ˈskeːp/, [ˈskɛːp]


skēp n

  1. sheep


  • North Frisian:
    Föhr-Amrum: schep, schap
    Goesharde: schäip
    Helgoland: skēap
    Mooring: schäip
    Sylt: Sjip
    Wiedingharde: sees
  • East Frisian:
    Harlingerland Frisian: schaip
    Saterland Frisian: Skäip
    Wangerooge Frisian: schaip
    Wursten Frisian: schepp, scheep
  • West Frisian: skiep
    Hindeloopen: skeep
    Schiermonnikoog: schiep


  • Norbruis, Stefan (2015), “tserne”, in Etymological Dictionary of West Frisian Farming Vocabulary, Leiden: Leiden University, page 43.
  • Bremmer, Rolf H. (2009) An Introduction to Old Frisian: History, Grammar, Reader, Glossary, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, →ISBN

Old NorseEdit



  1. first-person singular present indicative active of skepja
  2. second-person singular present imperative active of skepja