Definition of have in English:

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Pronunciation: /hav/

verb (has /haz/ /has/, having, had /had/)

[with object]
1 (also have got) Possess, own, or hold: he had a new car and a boat have you got a job yet? I don’t have that much money on me
More example sentences
  • Football, even at youth level, should be about rewarding best practice and not just who has the most money.
  • Almost every household today has a computer.
  • But if you don't keep an eye on the way things are going, then pretty soon you may not have a job to go to.
possess, own, be in possession of, be the owner of, be the (proud) possessor of, have in one's possession, have to one's name, count among one's possessions, be blessed with, boast, enjoy;
keep, maintain, retain, hold, use, utilize, occupy
1.1Possess (a quality, characteristic, or feature): the ham had a sweet, smoky flavour she’s got blue eyes the house has gas-fired central heating
More example sentences
  • Naive art has a quality of its own that is easy to recognize but hard to define.
  • I thought he had a bit more sense, but no.
  • Yet credit is due to Kilmarnock for remaining resolute throughout and having the capacity to respond.
1.2 (have oneself) informal, chiefly North American Provide or indulge oneself with (something): he had himself two highballs
More example sentences
  • While you're having yourself a merry little Christmas, one of the songs you might often hear is a recent classic, a song whose author waited 20 years for the right student to put his music to words.
  • This somewhat self-satisfied consensus that we're having ourselves a serious argument about the proper role of government gives the candidates - and the voters - too much credit, I think.
  • America's retail sector is having itself a not so merry little Christmas.
1.3Be made up of; comprise: in 1989 the party had 10,000 members
More example sentences
  • The co-op currently has 1,000 members representing 635 households.
  • My job has two parts: teaching an instrument privately and teaching classroom music theory.
  • This book, which has 17 chapters on many aspects of diabetes care, is mainly well written.
comprise, consist of, contain, include, incorporate, be composed of, be made up of, be formed of;
embrace, embody, encompass, take in
formal comprehend
1.4Used to indicate a particular relationship: he’s got three children do you have a client named Peters?
More example sentences
  • Parents Ray and Betty have nine children, three of whom farm with them.
  • He has two brothers, Joe and Lawrence.
  • John has got friends all over the world.
1.5Be able to make use of (something available or at one’s disposal): how much time have I got for the presentation?
More example sentences
  • This double booking does lead to many schools having a few places available but this takes time to be sorted out.
  • The immense talent we have at our disposal is impressive to say the least.
  • I only have four yuan a day to spend, three yuan for the bed space and one yuan for a bun.
1.6Possess as an intellectual attainment; know (a language or subject): he knew Latin and Greek; I had only a little French
2Experience; undergo: I went to a few parties and had a good time I was having difficulty in keeping awake
More example sentences
  • I've had the opportunity to play guys who are having a more difficult time living in society than others.
  • We lost her but she didn't suffer, she had a happy life and a family who adored her.
  • He had a disappointing World Cup by his own high standards but has done well in Super League.
experience, encounter, undergo, face, meet, find, go through, run into, come across, be subjected to, have experience of, be faced with
experience, enjoy, taste
2.1 (also have got) Suffer from (an illness, ailment, or disability): I’ve got a headache
More example sentences
  • Many people are unaware they have had the illness so do not know if they are immune.
  • It increases the likelihood of a person having asthma, eczema or hay fever.
  • The bug is capable of killing if it infects someone who has recently had flu.
be suffering from, be afflicted by, be affected by, be troubled with, be a sufferer from
informal be a martyr to
2.2 (also have got) Let (a feeling or thought) come into one’s mind; hold in the mind: he had the strong impression that someone was watching him
More example sentences
  • Like an awful lot of people, I really don't have any strong feelings one way or the other.
  • Did you have this concept in mind from the start, or did it take shape as you wrote the album?
  • She, it seems, has thoughts and ideas about what she wants to do in the weeks and months after the baby is born.
harbour, feel, entertain, foster, nurse, cherish, nurture, bear, sustain, maintain, keep in one's mind
2.3 [with past participle] Experience or suffer the specified action happening or being done to (something): she had her bag stolen
More example sentences
  • We have had previous experience of having cars damaged and stolen.
  • The man staying next to me at the hotel had his travel bag stolen from the room yesterday.
  • They suffered the indignity of having their pictures splashed all over the papers.
2.4 [with object and complement] Cause to be in a particular state or condition: I want to have everything ready in good time I had the TV on with the sound turned down
More example sentences
  • We see little wildlife during the dive, but the experience has my adrenalin pumping.
  • We'll have a room ready as soon as possible.
  • Now her article has me thinking.
2.5 [with past participle] Cause (something) to be done for one by someone else: it is advisable to have your carpet laid by a professional
More example sentences
  • Other staff will be coming in with bad hair and one teacher is having her hair dyed by the pupils.
  • We're having a small, flat roof added as part of our loft extension.
  • Surely in order to have one's lung cancer treated, one has to, er, go to a hospital and ask to be seen?
cause to, make, ask to, request to, get to, tell to, require to, persuade to, induce to, prevail upon someone to;
order to, command to, direct to, enjoin to, oblige to, force to, compel to, coerce to
2.6Tell or arrange for (someone) to do something for one: [with object and infinitive]: he had his bodyguards throw Chris out she’s always having the builders in to do something or other
More example sentences
  • I am also a little unsure as to the relevance to safety of not always having a member of staff there to make sure that everyone has a ticket!
  • Now don't get me wrong, I don't like having people thrown out, but she was truly out of control.
  • Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.
2.7 (also have got) informal Have put (someone) at a disadvantage in an argument: you’ve got me there; I’ve never given the matter much thought
More example sentences
  • What is a unit trust? OK, you've got me there.
  • She replied ‘Besides, you're the soldier, you should have noticed it before me.’ Damn. She had him there.
2.8 informal Cheat or deceive (someone): I realized I’d been had
More example sentences
  • Then he realized he'd been had - and a big grin spread over his face.
  • I was had, the advertisers did their bit and got me, they well and truly got me!
trick, fool, deceive, cheat, dupe, take in, outwit, double-cross, hoodwink, swindle
informal do, con, diddle, bilk, rip off, shaft, pull a fast one on, put one over on, take to the cleaners
North American informal sucker, snooker, stiff
2.9 vulgar slang Engage in sexual intercourse with.
3 (have to or have got to do something) Be obliged or find it necessary to do the specified thing: you don’t have to accept this situation sorry, we’ve got to dash
More example sentences
  • In the case of North Sea fisheries we are having to accept the consequence of those commitments ourselves.
  • Of course I try to block it out but I have to accept I am playing in a difficult position.
  • They have to accept unless they come up with the cash they are not going to get on to the housing ladder.
must, have got to, be obliged to, be required to, be compelled to, be forced to, be bound to, be duty-bound to, be under an obligation to
3.1Be strongly recommended to do something: if you think that place is great, you have to try our summer house
More example sentences
  • This is the best spaghetti I've ever had! You've just got to try it!
  • The film is really something one has to see.
  • But you've got to visit the City once in your life!
3.2Be certain or inevitable to happen or be the case: there has to be a catch
More example sentences
  • Why is it that it always has to rain when I take the kids to and from school and then clear up straight afterwards.
  • Inevitably, both parties are in dispute and there has got to be a certain amount of compromise.
  • There are bound to be some disappointed lads who have missed out because the competition for places is so strong but that has got to be good for the team.
4Perform the action indicated by the noun specified (used especially in spoken English as an alternative to a more specific verb): he had a look round the colour green has a restful effect
More example sentences
  • Anyway, we ended up going for a curry and a few pints, and having a good old chat about events back home in NZ.
  • The American election is having a particularly topsy-turvy effect on British politics.
  • If there is time, I may have a swim too.
4.1Organize and bring about: are you going to have a party?
More example sentences
  • One night, we got back to our rooms after a couple of drinks at Manor Bar and decided to have a Chicago party.
  • We shall have a public banquet in your honor!
  • We head for town in little groups, and end up having our own little post-party parties.
organize, arrange, hold, give, host, throw, provide, put on, lay on, set up, fix up, make arrangements for, make preparations for, pencil in, prepare for, plan for
4.2Eat or drink: they had beans on toast
More example sentences
  • They have been in a few nights this week, having a few pints and a few fags.
  • We lose our temper and, as soon as we've had a cup of tea and a biscuit, we feel better.
  • Do you recommend that I can still take my daily vitamins whilst having a high performance drink?
eat, consume, devour, partake of;
drink, empty, drain, quaff
informal demolish, dispose of, put away, get outside of, scoff (down), pack away, tuck away
imbibe, sink, knock back
British informal shift, bevvy
North American informal scarf (down/up), snarf (down/up), inhale
rare ingurgitate, bib
4.3Give birth to or be due to give birth to: she’s going to have a baby
More example sentences
  • It was her own experiences of having her two sons and two daughters that led her to wanting to become a midwife.
  • My mother knows a couple, newly married and who have just gone through the happy experience of having a set of twins.
  • By having a baby a teenager won't be able to do these things, due to not being able to afford a babysitter.
give birth to, bear, produce, be delivered of, bring into the world
informal drop
archaic be brought to bed of, bring forth, beget
5 (also have got) Show (a personal attribute or quality) by one’s actions or attitude: he had little patience with technological gadgetry [with object and infinitive]: you never even phoned, and now you’ve got the cheek to come back
More example sentences
  • Which of the candidates has got the capacity to convince people that life is precious?
  • The volunteer might not have the patience or training for the task.
  • To be honest, I had no confidence in the techniques I applied.
manifest, show, display, exhibit, demonstrate, express, evince
5.1 [often in imperative] Exercise or show (mercy, pity, etc.) towards another person: God have mercy on me!
More example sentences
  • He has little mercy on flawed arguments, wherever they originate.
  • Have pity on us, O Lord.
5.2 [with negative] Accept or tolerate: I can’t have you insulting Tom like that
More example sentences
  • We will take 12,000 refugees a year, but we will not have people arriving here illegally and we will act to deter that occurring.
  • I don't like drama in my house. I won't have it.
  • We can't have you being late for something like this, now, can we?
tolerate, endure, bear, support, accept, put up with, go along with, take, countenance, brook;
permit to, allow to
informal stand, abide, stick, stomach, hold with
British informal be doing with
6 (also have got) [with object and adverbial of place] Place or keep (something) in a particular position: Mary had her back to me I soon had the trout in a net
More example sentences
  • She had her head down and was busily writing out the words that I had asked her to write.
  • Sue had the cat in her lap.
  • He had his arms around me and I felt safe.
6.1Hold or grasp in a particular way: he had me by the throat
More example sentences
  • He had me by the arm and lifted me, forcibly, to my feet.
  • The two tumbled for a minute before Ryan had him in a headlock.
  • In a matter of seconds, Jacob had me by the collar of my shirt.
7Be the recipient of (something sent, given, or done): she had a letter from Mark
More example sentences
  • Carl admitted to having a few pampering treatments before the wedding day.
  • I have received a number of e-mails from persons asking me why I am doing this.
  • Next, we sent an e-mail inquiry and within a day or so we had a reply.
receive, get, be given, be sent, obtain, acquire, procure, come by, take receipt of
7.1Take or invite into one’s home so as to provide care or entertainment: we’re having the children for the weekend
More example sentences
  • There is another arrival ceremony with short speeches thanking the hotel for having us.
  • I was going to have Peter and Chris over to plan our trip to Aspen the next day.
  • Quick note to say it was fabulous having you, you're a great houseguest, come again any time.
entertain, be host to, cater for, receive;
invite round, invite over, ask round, ask over, show hospitality to, invite to a meal, invite to a party, wine and dine;
accommodate, put up, take in, give a bed to

auxiliary verb

Used with a past participle to form the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect tenses, and the conditional mood: I have finished he had asked her she will have left by now I could have helped, had I known ‘Have you seen him?’ ‘Yes, I have.’
More example sentences
  • Ms Kelly says a field next to the estate would have been perfect but it was sold to a golf course.
  • This mood has not been lost on the hotel industry, which is all set to cash in on the season.
  • That I have had to get up at the crack of dawn the past two mornings has not helped my mood.


1 (the haves) informal People with plenty of money and possessions: an increasing gap between the haves and have-nots
More example sentences
  • And the haves are the ones who give money and frequently have things they'd like to get done, and they do get done frequently.
  • It seems to me that mass consumerism creates the haves and have nots and in order to be ‘a have’ one must very consciously make a choice.
  • John Edwards talked about two Americas divided by class, the haves and the have-nots.
2 [in singular] British informal, dated A swindle.
Example sentences
  • I have to say, this whole tropical island thing is a bit of a have.


1 Have and have got: there is a great deal of debate on the difference between these two forms; a traditional view is that have got is chiefly British, but not correct in formal writing, while have is chiefly American. Actual usage is more complicated: have got is in fact also widely used in US English. In both British and US usage have is more formal than have got and it is more appropriate in writing to use constructions such as don’t have rather than haven’t got.2 A common mistake is to write the word of instead of have or 've: I could of told you that instead of I could’ve told you that. The reason for the mistake is that the pronunciation of have in unstressed contexts is the same as that of of, and the two words are confused when it comes to writing them down. The error was recorded as early as 1837 and, though common, is unacceptable in standard English.3 Another controversial issue is the insertion of have where it is superfluous, as for example I might have missed it if you hadn’t have pointed it out (rather than the standard ... if you hadn’t pointed it out). This construction has been around since at least the 15th and 16th centuries, but only where a hypothetical situation is presented (e.g. statements starting with if). More recently, there has been speculation among grammarians and linguists that this insertion of have may represent a kind of subjunctive and is actually making a useful distinction in the language. However, it is still regarded as an error in standard English.



have a care (or an eye etc.)

see care, eye, etc.

have got it bad (or badly)

Be very powerfully affected emotionally, especially by love.
Example sentences
  • You got hit by the love bug and you have got it bad.
  • The owner, Keenan Wynn, has got it bad for his waitress Kotty (Terry Moore), but she only has eyes for for a research professor (Frank Lovejoy).
  • It's very rare to read about a man so incredibly crazy about a woman, but this guy has got it bad.

have had it

1Be in a very poor condition; be beyond repair or past its best: the car had had it
More example sentences
  • Ordinary cars had had it, their fat, sporty tyres utterly lost in the Arctic chill.
  • Yeah it's had it. I purchased a bulk lot of 5, with the seller saying he had not tried them and would not replace them if they did not work.
  • The roof's had it.
1.1Be extremely tired: tomorrow she would motor on through Germany, but for today, she’d had it
More example sentences
  • I've had it, I'm going home
1.2Have lost all chance of survival: when the lorry smashed into me, I thought I’d had it
More example sentences
  • Once local residents move their car they have had it.
  • It's had it now as a business, because the power of the supermarkets is too great for what was a useful social service.
  • If any company fails in sales, then the company has had it.
have no chance, have no hope, have failed, be finished, be out, be defeated, have lost, have no chance of success, have come to nothing
informal have flopped, have bitten the dust, have come a cropper
be in trouble, be going to be punished, be going to suffer the consequences, be going to pay the price, be in for a scolding, be going to answer for something
informal be for it, be for the high jump, be in hot water, be in deep water, be in (deep) shtook, be going to take the rap, be going to catch it
2Be unable to tolerate someone or something any longer: I’ve had it with him—he’s humiliated me once too often!
More example sentences
  • A film aficionado has had it up to here with blood, guts and gore.
  • I have had it up to here with your silly nonsense and gossip.
  • By eighth grade the Special Ed class had had it with the teasing, and we got together during break times to back each other up.

have had it up to here

Have no patience left to tolerate something or someone: they have had it up to here with being bossed around
More example sentences
  • The important thing is nothing to do with where the call center is located; the important thing is that customers have had it up to here, and the reasons are the same everywhere.
  • I don't know where it's coming from but it is reverberating quite thoroughly through my living room walls and I have had it up to here.
  • I've just about had it up to here but there's nothing I can do to stop him.

have it

1 [with clause] Claim; express the view that: rumour had it that although he lived in a derelict house, he was really very wealthy
More example sentences
  • And rumours have it that Scully was keen on the move to the South East too.
  • Legend has it that you could see the answers to all your problems in her eyes.
  • The medieval view had it that comets were signs of a ruined world that has fallen into sin.
2Win a decision, especially after a vote: the ayes have it
More example sentences
  • I started in the No camp but putting myself on both sides of the fence, I now think that the ayes have it.
  • The paper is worried that ‘as things stand, the noes have it, because the anti-war camp is getting the better of the argument.’
3Have found the answer to something: ‘I have it!’ Rosa exclaimed
More example sentences
  • ‘Ah,’ he said when the performance was over, ‘I have it. They are holding the horses.’

have it away (on one's toes)

British informal Leave quickly: the dog scratched itself, then had it away for home
More example sentences
  • Legged it in this country means to have it away on your toes.
  • Once I know it's a free gift I'll have it away on my toes with it, but the invoice bugs me.
  • One of my mates showed me how to hot-wire the ignition so I could have it away on my toes with the car as well as the sounds.

have it away (or off)

British vulgar slang Have sexual intercourse.

have it both ways

see both.

have (got) it in for

informal Feel a particular dislike of (someone) and behave in a hostile manner towards them: she’s had it in for me ever since our quarrel
More example sentences
  • A big reason I have it in for her, if you want to call it that, is the misinformation effect when she does health readings, which I consider to be potentially very dangerous.
  • The press have it in for him and I think it is pretty clear why - he represents one of the most despised figures of all for the London elite.
  • I don't know personally if the legal system does indeed have it in for dads.
be hostile to, show/feel ill will towards, show antagonism to, bear a grudge towards, be against, be set against, be prejudiced against, disapprove of;
persecute, pick on, push around/about, lean on, bully, abuse, discriminate against, ill-treat, mistreat, maltreat, harass, hound, torment, terrorize, torture, punish unfairly
informal have a down on, be down on, give someone a hard time, hassle, needle, get on someone's back, make things hot for someone

have (got) it in one (to do something)

informal Have the capacity or potential (to do something): everyone thinks he has it in him to produce a literary classic
More example sentences
  • Taylor said: ‘Everyone has it in them to become an entrepreneur.’
  • Not everyone has it in them - or has the inclination - to emulate Livingstone or Scott or Ellen MacArthur.
  • Keep up the good work, Jonesy, we know you have it in you.

have it out

informal Attempt to resolve a contentious matter by confronting someone: give her the chance of a night’s rest before you have it out with her
More example sentences
  • The bride finally snapped, had it out with her mother, and their relationship got ugly for months.
  • I had it out with the dealer, and they still refused to modify the spring.

have a nice day

chiefly US Used to express good wishes when parting: I hope you enjoyed your meal. Thank you and have a nice day!
More example sentences
  • And he went upstairs and looked in my room and my kids' room and came back downstairs and told me to have a nice day.
  • I'm outta here for the first Auburn game in a few minutes, so y'all have a nice day, and may your team do well.
  • If they turn you down or make an excuse, thank them anyway and tell them to have a nice day.

have (got) nothing on

1Be not nearly as good as: bright though his three sons were, they had nothing on Sally
More example sentences
  • All those wrote-a-story-about-murder-and-got-expelled-from-school anecdotes have got nothing on seven-year-old Paul.
  • Fergie and me acted as firemen just as it set fire to the table cloth, the rest of the room oblivious to our tactics… Batman and Robin have got nothing on Fergie and Sven.
  • Well, if you think today's Hollywood leading men love them and leave them, they have got nothing on Howard Hughes, baby.
2 (have nothing or something on) Know nothing (or something) discreditable or incriminating about: I am not worried—they’ve got nothing on me
More example sentences
  • If somebody tells me that they're on the verge of arresting me, my response would be, I haven't done anything to be arrested for, not, they don't have anything on me.
  • They had this guy whom they knew was holding a little girl who would die unless they got hold of her, but they didn't have anything on him.
  • If the Justice Department tells the press we don't have anything on him, why do they keep telling the press that he's a person of interest?
have no evidence against, know nothing bad about, know nothing damning about, have no incriminating information about

have nothing to do with

see do1.

have one too many

see many.

have (got) something to oneself

Be able to use, occupy, or enjoy something without having to share it with anyone else: now she had the kitchen to herself, Belle got busy peeling potatoes
More example sentences
  • He was lucky that he was not sharing with anyone yet and had the whole room to himself.
  • I stretched, enjoying the feeling of having the bed to myself.
  • Its nice though, I am enjoying having the house to myself for once this evening, and yep, the vodka is working its magic…

have —— to do with

see do1.

Phrasal verbs


have at

Tackle or attack forcefully or aggressively: somehow we thought we had to have at each other
More example sentences
  • One of his tips involves printing the manuscript out in full and having at it with one's favourite colour pen.
  • There are so many things to hit and detonate in this game and it's never been so much fun having at it with weapons.
  • Have at you, you English rogue!

have someone on

informal Try to make someone believe something that is untrue, especially as a joke: that’s just too neat—you’re having me on
More example sentences
  • I didn't believe him - I thought he was having me on.
  • When it came to the short clay pipe, sure I was having you on.
  • And then, after they started to give each other worried looks, we smile, and say, oh, just having you on!
play a trick on, play a joke on, joke with, trick, tease, rag, pull someone's leg, fool about/around
informal kid, rib, take the mickey out of, make a monkey out of, take for a ride, lead up the garden path
British informal wind up
North American informal put on, pull someone's chain
British vulgar slang take the piss out of
dated make sport of

have (got) something on

1Be wearing something: she had a blue dress on
More example sentences
  • He was dressed casually in blue jeans and had a jacket on over his t-shirt.
  • She has red trackpants on.
  • Now she had a tank top on, blue jeans and sunglasses.
be wearing, be dressed in, be clothed in, be garbed in, be attired in, be turned out in, be decked out in, be tricked out in, be robed in
archaic be apparelled in
2Be committed to an arrangement: I’ve got a lot on at the moment
More example sentences
  • Actually, I’ve got something on then, but I’m not doing anything Sunday.
  • I can't make the game. I've got something else on that day.
be committed to, have arranged, have planned, have organized, have fixed up, have on the agenda, have made arrangements for

have something out

Undergo an operation to extract a part of one’s body: that was the year we had our tonsils out
More example sentences
  • I also looked after a teenage boy who was having his tonsils out and signed his consent form forbidding us to give him blood in an emergency.
  • One dentist's visit cost 7/6 and having a tooth out cost 3 / 6.
  • I'm having a wisdom tooth out today, at 14: 25 GMT.

have someone up

British informal Bring someone before a court of justice to answer for an alleged offence: you can be had up for blackmail
More example sentences
  • I swear, if it weren't for the fact that she's your wife and extremely good at her job I'd have her up before a court martial.
  • I'm warning you Mr. Goonsburg, if I have one more intervention like that from you again I'll have you up for contempt of court.
  • Your parents could have me up for statutory rape.


Old English habban, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hebben and German haben, also probably to heave.

Words that rhyme with have


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: have

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