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90s Slang You Should Know


[hav; unstressed huh v, uh v; for 26 usually haf] /hæv; unstressed həv, əv; for 26 usually hæf/
verb (used with object), present singular 1st person have, 2nd have or (Archaic) hast, 3rd has or (Archaic) hath, present plural have; past singular 1st person had, 2nd had or (Archaic) hadst or haddest, 3rd had, past plural had; past participle had; present participle having.
to possess; own; hold for use; contain:
He has property. The work has an index.
to hold, possess, or accept in some relation, as of kindred or relative position:
He wanted to marry her, but she wouldn't have him.
to get, receive, or take:
to have a part in a play; to have news.
to experience, undergo, or endure, as joy or pain:
Have a good time. He had a heart attack last year.
to hold in mind, sight, etc.:
to have doubts.
to cause to, as by command or invitation:
Have him come here at five.
to be related to or be in a certain relation to:
She has three cousins. He has a kind boss.
to show or exhibit in action or words:
She had the crust to refuse my invitation.
to be identified or distinguished by; possess the characteristic of:
He has a mole on his left cheek. This wood has a silky texture.
to engage in or carry on:
to have a talk; to have a fight.
to partake of; eat or drink:
He had cake and coffee for dessert.
to permit or allow:
I will not have any talking during the concert.
to assert, maintain, or represent as being:
Rumor has it that she's going to be married.
to know, understand, or be skilled in:
to have neither Latin nor Greek.
to beget or give birth to:
to have a baby.
to hold an advantage over:
He has you there.
to outwit, deceive, or cheat:
We realized we'd been had by an expert con artist.
to control or possess through bribery; bribe.
to gain possession of:
There is none to be had at that price.
to hold or put in a certain position or situation:
The problem had me stumped. They had him where they wanted him.
to exercise, display, or make use of:
Have pity on him.
to invite or cause to be present as a companion or guest:
We had Evelyn and Everett over for dinner. He has his bodyguard with him at all times.
to engage in sexual intercourse with.
verb (used without object), present singular 1st person have, 2nd have or (Archaic) hast, 3rd has or (Archaic) hath, present plural have; past singular 1st person had, 2nd had or (Archaic) hadst or haddest, 3rd had, past plural had; past participle had; present participle having.
to be in possession of money or wealth:
There are some who have and some who have not.
auxiliary verb, present singular 1st person have, 2nd have or (Archaic) hast, 3rd has or (Archaic) hath, present plural have; past singular 1st person had, 2nd had or (Archaic) hadst or haddest, 3rd had, past plural had; past participle had; present participle having.
(used with a past participle to form perfect tenses):
She has gone. It would have been an enjoyable party if he hadn't felt downcast.
to be required, compelled, or under obligation (followed by infinitival to, with or without a main verb):
I have to leave now. I didn't want to study, but I had to.
Usually, haves. an individual or group that has wealth, social position, or other material benefits (contrasted with have-not).
Verb phrases
have at, to go at vigorously; attack:
First he decided to have at his correspondence.
had better / best, ought to:
You'd better go now, it's late.
had rather. rather (def 9).
have done, to cease; finish:
It seemed that they would never have done with their struggle.
have had it,
  1. to become weary of or disgusted with whatever one has been doing:
    I've been working like a fool, but now I've had it.
  2. to suffer defeat; fail:
    He was a great pitcher, but after this season he'll have had it.
  3. to have missed a last opportunity:
    He refused to take any more excuses and told them all that they'd had it.
  4. to become unpopular or passé:
    Quiz shows have had it.
have it coming, to merit or deserve:
When they lost their fortune, everyone said that they had it coming.
have it in / out for, to plan or wish to do something unpleasant to; hold a grudge against:
She has it in for intelligent students who fail to use their abilities.
have it out, to come to an understanding or decision through discussion or combat:
We've been in disagreement about this for a long time, and I think we should have it out, once and for all.
have on,
  1. to be clothed in; be wearing:
    She had on a new dress.
  2. to have arranged or planned:
    What do you have on for Christmas?
  3. to tease (a person); make the butt of a joke.
    Compare put (def 35).
have to do with,
  1. to be connected or associated with:
    Your lack of confidence probably had a lot to do with your not getting the job.
  2. to deal with; be concerned with:
    I will have nothing to do with their personal squabbles.
to have and to hold, to possess legally; have permanent possession of:
The house, with the mortgage finally paid, was at last their own to have and to hold.
Origin of have
before 900; Middle English haven, habben, Old English habban; cognate with German haben, Old Norse hafa, Gothic haban to have; perhaps akin to heave
Can be confused
halve, have.
3. obtain, gain, secure, procure.
1. lack.
Synonym Study
1. Have, hold, occupy, own, possess mean to be, in varying degrees, in possession of something. Have, being the most general word, admits of the widest range of application: to have money, rights, discretion, a disease, a glimpse, an idea; to have a friend's umbrella. To hold is to have in one's grasp or one's control, but not necessarily as one's own: to hold stakes. To occupy is to hold and use, but not necessarily by any right of ownership: to occupy a chair, a house, a position. To own is to have the full rights of property in a thing, which, however, another may be holding or enjoying: to own a house that is rented to tenants. Possess is a more formal equivalent for own and suggests control, and often occupation, of large holdings: to possess vast territories.
Usage note
See of2. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for having
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How can I think of any thing except the joy of having found you again?

  • Think of having the courage to talk that way about marriage!

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • "I can't understand why you are having them all alike," she complained.

    Phyllis Dorothy Whitehill
  • The worst part of it is the having to decide how to make the most of liberty.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • You wouldn't believe, would you, that your uncle is responsible for my having them?

    Elsie Marley, Honey Joslyn Gray
British Dictionary definitions for having


verb (mainly transitive) has, having, had
to be in material possession of; own: he has two cars
to possess as a characteristic quality or attribute: he has dark hair
to receive, take, or obtain: she had a present from him, have a look
to hold or entertain in the mind: to have an idea
to possess a knowledge or understanding of: I have no German
to experience or undergo: to have a shock
to be infected with or suffer from: to have a cold
to gain control of or advantage over: you have me on that point
(usually passive) (slang) to cheat or outwit: he was had by that dishonest salesman
(foll by on) to exhibit (mercy, compassion, etc, towards): have mercy on us, Lord
to engage or take part in: to have a conversation
to arrange, carry out, or hold: to have a party
to cause, compel, or require to (be, do, or be done): have my shoes mended
(takes an infinitive with to) used as an auxiliary to express compulsion or necessity: I had to run quickly to escape him
to eat, drink, or partake of: to have a good meal
(slang) to have sexual intercourse with: he had her on the sofa
(used with a negative) to tolerate or allow: I won't have all this noise
to declare, state, or assert: rumour has it that they will marry
to put or place: I'll have the sofa in this room
to receive as a guest: to have three people to stay
to beget or bear (offspring): she had three children
(takes a past participle) used as an auxiliary to form compound tenses expressing completed action: I have gone, I shall have gone, I would have gone, I had gone
had better, had best, ought to: used to express compulsion, obligation, etc: you had better go
had rather, had sooner, to consider or find preferable that: I had rather you left at once
have done, See done (sense 3)
(informal) have had it
  1. to be exhausted, defeated, or killed
  2. to have lost one's last chance
  3. to become unfashionable
have it, to win a victory
(Brit, slang) have it away, have it off, to have sexual intercourse
(informal) have it coming, to be about to receive or to merit punishment or retribution
(informal) have it in for, to wish or intend harm towards
have it so good, to have so many benefits, esp material benefits
have to do with
  1. to have dealings or associate with: I have nothing to do with her
  2. to be of relevance to: this has nothing to do with you
(informal) I have it, I know the answer
(slang) let someone have it, to launch or deliver an attack on, esp to discharge a firearm at someone
(foll by of) (informal) not having any, refusing to take part or be involved (in)
(usually pl) a person or group of people in possession of wealth, security, etc: the haves and the have-nots
Word Origin
Old English habban; related to Old Norse hafa, Old Saxon hebbian, Old High German habēn, Latin habēre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for having



Old English habban "to own, possess; be subject to, experience," from Proto-Germanic *haben- (cf. Old Norse hafa, Old Saxon hebbjan, Old Frisian habba, German haben, Gothic haban "to have"), from PIE *kap- "to grasp" (see capable). Not related to Latin habere, despite similarity in form and sense; the Latin cognate is capere "seize." Old English second person singular present hæfst, third person singular present hæfð became Middle English hast, hath, while Old English -bb- became -v- in have. The past participle had developed from Old English gehæfd.

Sense of "possess, have at one's disposal" (I have a book) is a shift from older languages, where the thing possessed was made the subject and the possessor took the dative case (e.g. Latin est mihi liber "I have a book," literally "there is to me a book"). Used as an auxiliary in Old English, too (especially to form present perfect tense); the word has taken on more functions over time; Modern English he had better would have been Old English him (dative) wære betere. To have to for "must" (1570s) is from sense of "possess as a duty or thing to be done" (Old English). Phrase have a nice day as a salutation after a commercial transaction attested by 1970, American English. Phrase have (noun), will (verb) is from 1954, originally from comedian Bob Hope, in the form Have tux, will travel; Hope described this as typical of vaudevillians' ads in "Variety," indicating a willingness to perform anywhere, any time.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for having



  1. To do the sex act with; possess sexually: I had Mary Jane in her own bathtub ten times (1594+)
  2. To cheat; deceive; diddle: I'm afraid it's a scam, they have had us (1805+)
  3. To gain an advantage over: I have you there, old man! (1596+)

Related Terms

be had

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with having


, also see entries beginning with
, and
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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