[ hav; unstressed huhv, uhv; for 26 usually haf ]
See synonyms for: havehadhasthas on Thesaurus.com

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 had·dest,3rd had,past plural had;past participle had;present participle hav·ing.
  1. to possess; own; hold for use; contain: He has property. The work has an index.

  2. 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.

  1. to get, receive, or take: to have a part in a play; to have news.

  2. to experience, undergo, or endure, as joy or pain: Have a good time. He had a heart attack last year.

  3. to hold in mind, sight, etc.: to have doubts.

  4. to cause to, as by command or invitation: Have him come here at five.

  5. to be related to or be in a certain relation to: She has three cousins. He has a kind boss.

  6. to show or exhibit in action or words: She had the crust to refuse my invitation.

  7. to be identified or distinguished by; possess the characteristic of: He has a mole on his left cheek. This wood has a silky texture.

  8. to engage in or carry on: to have a talk; to have a fight.

  9. to partake of; eat or drink: He had cake and coffee for dessert.

  10. to permit or allow: I will not have any talking during the concert.

  11. to assert, maintain, or represent as being: Rumor has it that she's going to be married.

  12. to know, understand, or be skilled in: to have neither Latin nor Greek.

  13. to beget or give birth to: to have a baby.

  14. to hold an advantage over: He has you there.

  15. to outwit, deceive, or cheat: We realized we'd been had by an expert con artist.

  16. to control or possess through bribery; bribe.

  17. to gain possession of: There is none to be had at that price.

  18. to hold or put in a certain position or situation: The problem had me stumped. They had him where they wanted him.

  19. to exercise, display, or make use of: Have pity on him.

  20. 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.

  21. 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 had·dest,3rd had,past plural had;past participle had;present participle hav·ing.
  1. 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 had·dest,3rd had,past plural had;past participle had;present participle hav·ing.
  1. (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.

  2. 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.

  1. Usually haves . an individual or group that has wealth, social position, or other material benefits (contrasted with have-not).

Verb Phrases
  1. have at, to go at vigorously; attack: First he decided to have at his correspondence.

Idioms about have

  1. had better / best, ought to: You'd better go now, it's late.

  2. had rather. rather (def. 9).

  1. have done, to cease; finish: It seemed that they would never have done with their struggle.

  2. have had it,

    • 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.

    • to suffer defeat; fail: He was a great pitcher, but after this season he'll have had it.

    • to have missed a last opportunity: He refused to take any more excuses and told them all that they'd had it.

    • to become unpopular or passé: Quiz shows have had it.

  3. have it coming, to merit or deserve: When they lost their fortune, everyone said that they had it coming.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. have on,

    • to be clothed in; be wearing: She had on a new dress.

    • to have arranged or planned: What do you have on for Christmas?

    • to tease (a person); make the butt of a joke.: Compare put (def. 35).

  7. have to do with,

    • to be connected or associated with: Your lack of confidence probably had a lot to do with your not getting the job.

    • to deal with; be concerned with: I will have nothing to do with their personal squabbles.

  8. 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

First recorded before 900; Middle English haven, habben, Old English habban; cognate with German haben, Old Norse hafa, Gothic haban “to have”; perhaps akin to heave

synonym study For have

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 For have

See of2.

Other words for have

Opposites for have

Words that may be confused with have

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use have in a sentence

  • The Spaniards captured two schooners, having on board 22 officers and 30 men, all of whom were hanged or sent to the mines.

  • You see, I'd always thought of him as the boy whom Great-aunt Lucia described having seen.

    The Boarded-Up House | Augusta Huiell Seaman
  • And having an enormous appetite he was fortunate in being expert at finding angleworms.

    The Tale of Grandfather Mole | Arthur Scott Bailey
  • In the meantime, the outlaw, having observed how much more cordially the tyrant is received than himself, has made his exit.

    Physiology of The Opera | John H. Swaby (AKA "Scrici")
  • But Polavieja started his campaign with the immense advantage of having the whole of the dry season before him.

    The Philippine Islands | John Foreman

British Dictionary definitions for have


/ (hæv) /

verbhas, having or had (mainly tr)
  1. to be in material possession of; own: he has two cars

  2. to possess as a characteristic quality or attribute: he has dark hair

  1. to receive, take, or obtain: she had a present from him; have a look

  2. to hold or entertain in the mind: to have an idea

  3. to possess a knowledge or understanding of: I have no German

  4. to experience or undergo: to have a shock

  5. to be infected with or suffer from: to have a cold

  6. to gain control of or advantage over: you have me on that point

  7. (usually passive) slang to cheat or outwit: he was had by that dishonest salesman

  8. (foll by on) to exhibit (mercy, compassion, etc, towards): have mercy on us, Lord

  9. to engage or take part in: to have a conversation

  10. to arrange, carry out, or hold: to have a party

  11. to cause, compel, or require to (be, do, or be done): have my shoes mended

  12. (takes an infinitive with to) used as an auxiliary to express compulsion or necessity: I had to run quickly to escape him

  13. to eat, drink, or partake of: to have a good meal

  14. slang to have sexual intercourse with: he had her on the sofa

  15. (used with a negative) to tolerate or allow: I won't have all this noise

  16. to declare, state, or assert: rumour has it that they will marry

  17. to put or place: I'll have the sofa in this room

  18. to receive as a guest: to have three people to stay

  19. to beget or bear (offspring): she had three children

  20. (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

  21. had better or had best ought to: used to express compulsion, obligation, etc: you had better go

  22. had rather or had sooner to consider or find preferable that: I had rather you left at once

  23. have done See done (def. 3)

  24. have had it informal

    • to be exhausted, defeated, or killed

    • to have lost one's last chance

    • to become unfashionable

  25. have it to win a victory

  26. have it away or have it off British slang to have sexual intercourse

  27. have it coming informal to be about to receive or to merit punishment or retribution

  28. have it in for informal to wish or intend harm towards

  29. have it so good to have so many benefits, esp material benefits

  30. have to do with

    • to have dealings or associate with: I have nothing to do with her

    • to be of relevance to: this has nothing to do with you

  31. I have it informal I know the answer

  32. let someone have it slang to launch or deliver an attack on, esp to discharge a firearm at someone

  33. not having any (foll by of) informal refusing to take part or be involved (in)

  1. (usually plural) a person or group of people in possession of wealth, security, etc: the haves and the have-nots

Origin of have

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with have


In addition to the idioms beginning with have, also see entries beginning with get had, and keep

  • have a ball
  • have a big mouth
  • have a bone to pick
  • have a brush with
  • have a case on
  • have a clear conscience
  • have a clue
  • have a crack at
  • have a crush on
  • have a familiar ring
  • have a fit
  • have against
  • have a go at
  • have a good command of
  • have a good day
  • have a good head on one's shoulders
  • have a good mind to
  • have a good thing going
  • have a good time
  • have a grasp of
  • have a hand in
  • have a hard time
  • have a head for
  • have a heart
  • have a hold over
  • have all one's buttons
  • have a lot going for
  • have a lot on one's plate
  • have a mind to
  • have an edge on
  • have a nerve
  • have an eye for
  • have a nice day
  • have another guess coming
  • have an out
  • have a penchant for
  • have a right to
  • have a say in
  • have a screw loose
  • have a shot at
  • have a stake in
  • have at
  • have a thing about
  • have a thing going
  • have a time of it
  • have a way with
  • have a weakness for
  • have a whack at
  • have a word with
  • have a yen for
  • have designs on
  • have dibs on
  • have done
  • have eyes only for
  • have fits
  • have going for one
  • have got to
  • have had enough
  • have had it
  • have in common
  • have in one's hands
  • have it
  • have it both ways
  • have it coming
  • have it in for
  • have it in one
  • have it made
  • have it out
  • have kittens
  • have no business
  • have no heart for
  • have none of
  • have no stomach for
  • have nothing on
  • have nothing to do with
  • have no time for
  • have no truck with
  • have no use for
  • have on
  • have one's ass in a sling
  • have one's cake and eat it, too
  • have one's day
  • have one's druthers
  • have oneself
  • have one's eye on
  • have one's hands full
  • have one's head in the sand
  • have one's head screwed on right
  • have one's heart in it
  • have one's moments
  • have one's own way
  • have one's say
  • have one's way with
  • have one's wits about one
  • have one's work cut out for one
  • have on the ball
  • have out
  • have pity on
  • have pull with
  • have rocks in one's head
  • have someone's ear
  • have someone's hide
  • have someone's number
  • have someone by the balls
  • have something against
  • have something coming
  • have something going
  • have something on
  • have something to show for
  • have the better of
  • have the blues
  • have the courage of one's convictions
  • have the edge on
  • have the feel of
  • have the goods on
  • have the guts
  • have the heart to
  • have the last laugh
  • have the makings of
  • have the say
  • have to
  • have to do with
  • have to show for
  • have two left feet
  • have words with

    The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.