verb \ ˈhav , (h)əv , v ; in "have to" meaning "must" usually ˈhaf \
|Updated on: 15 Jul 2018

Definition of have

had play \ˈhad, (h)əd, d\; having play \ˈha-viŋ\; has play \ˈhaz, (h)əz, z, s; in "has to" meaning "must" usually ˈhas\
1 a : to hold or maintain as a possession, privilege, or entitlement
  • they have a new car
  • I have my rights
b : to hold in one's use, service, regard, or at one's disposal
  • the group will have enough tickets for everyone
  • we don't have time to stay
c : to hold, include, or contain as a part or whole
  • the car has power brakes
  • April has 30 days
2 : to feel obligation in regard to usually used with an infinitive with to
  • we have things to do
  • have a deadline to meet
3 : to stand in a certain relationship to
  • has three fine children
  • we will have the wind at our backs
4 a : to acquire or get possession of : obtain
  • these shoes are the best to be had
b : receive
  • She asked if he had any news.
c : accept
  • so burnt no one would have a piece
; specifically : to accept in marriage
  • could find no one who would have him
d : to copulate with
  • claims to have had many women
5 a : to be marked or characterized by (a quality, attribute, or faculty)
  • both have red hair
  • has a way with words
b : exhibit, show
  • had the gall to refuse
c : use, exercise
  • have mercy on us
6 a : to experience especially by submitting to, undergoing, or suffering
  • I have a cold
b : to make the effort to perform (an action) or engage in (an activity)
  • have a look at that cut
c : to entertain in the mind
  • have an opinion
7 a : to cause or command to do something used with the infinitive without to
  • have the children stay
b : to cause to be in a certain place or state
  • has people around at all times
8 : allow
  • we'll have no more of that
9 : to be competent in
  • has only a little French
10 a : to hold in a position of disadvantage or certain defeat
  • we have him now
b : to take advantage of : trick, fool
  • been had by a partner
11 : bear 3a
  • have a baby
12 : to partake of
  • have dinner
  • have a piece
13 : bribe, suborn
  • can be had for a price
1 used with the past participle to form the present perfect, past perfect, or future perfect
  • has gone home
  • had already eaten
  • will have finished dinner by then
2 : to be compelled, obliged, or required used with an infinitive with to or to alone
  • we had to go
  • do what you have to
  • it has to be said
had better or had best
: would be wise to
  • had better go to bed
have at
: to go at or deal with : attack
  • like two boxers having at each other
have coming
: to deserve or merit what one gets, benefits by, or suffers
  • he had that coming
have done
: finish, stop
  • wish you would have done before I go mad
have done with
: to bring to an end : have no further concern with
  • let us have done with name-calling
have had it
1 : to have had or have done all one is going to be allowed to
  • He's been cheating me for years but now he's had it.
2 : to have experienced, endured, or suffered all one can
  • Her old beater has finally had it.
have it
: assert, claim
  • rumor has it that he was drunk
have it in for
: to intend to do harm to
have it out
: to settle a matter of contention by discussion or a fight
  • thinks they just need to have it out
have none of
: to refuse to have anything to do with
  • We will have none of that.
have one's eye on
1 a : to look at
b : to watch constantly and attentively
2 : to have as an objective
  • has her eye on a little cottage in the country
have to do with
1 : to deal with
  • the story has to do with real people
  • —Alice M. Jordan
2 : to have a specified relationship with or effect on
  • the size of the brain has nothing to do with intelligence
  • —Ruth Benedict

Examples of have in a Sentence

  1. Do they have a new car?

  2. You can have it until I get back.

  3. She has a red bike, and I have a blue one.

  4. She got another part-time job and now she has two jobs.

  5. I'm looking for the newspaper. Do you have it?

  6. He had the newspaper right in his hand.

  7. I used to have a necklace like that, but I lost it.

  8. She used to share a room with her sister, but now she has her own room.

  9. Have they got a new car?

  10. We've got things to do.

Origin and Etymology of have

Middle English, from Old English habban; akin to Old High German habēn to have, and perhaps to hevan to lift — more at heave

have Synonyms




do a number on, lead one down the garden path (also lead one up the garden path), pull one's leg, pull the wool over one's eyes;



noun \ ˈhav \

Definition of have

: one that is well-endowed especially in material wealth
  • the haves and have-nots

Examples of have in a Sentence

  1. a society that discriminates between the haves and the have-nots

Recent Examples of have from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'have.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of have

see 1have

HAVE Defined for Kids


verb \ ˈhav , həv , əv , in sense 3 before "to" usually ˈhaf \

Definition of have for Students

past & past participle had \ˈhad, həd, əd\; present participle having \ˈha-viŋ\; present third person singular has \ˈhas, həz, əz\
1 : to hold or own
  • I have the tickets.
2 : to possess as a characteristic
  • She has red hair.
3 : to eat or drink
  • Let's have dinner.
  • I had some water.
4 : to consist of or contain
  • April has 30 days.
5 : to be affected by
  • I have a cold.
6 : to plan, organize, and run (an event)
  • We're having a party.
7 : to give birth to
  • She had twins.
8 : to cause to be
  • How often do you have your hair cut?
9 : to stand in some relationship to
  • I have many friends.
10 : to perform a function or engage in an activity
  • He had a fight with his best friend.
11 : experience
  • I had fun.
12 : to hold in the mind
  • I have an idea.
13 : obtain, gain, get
  • It's the best car to be had.
14 : to cause to
  • I'll have them call you.
15 : 1permit 1
  • We'll have none of that.
16 : 2trick
  • We've been had.
17 used as a helping verb with the past participle of another verb
  • My friend has gone home.
18 : to be forced or feel obliged
  • They have to stay.
19 : 2exercise 1, use
  • have mercy
had better or had best
: would be wise to
  • You had better finish your homework.
have to do with
1 : to be about
  • That book has to do with trucks.
2 : to be involved in or responsible for
  • Luck had nothing to do with her success.

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one who attends or assists a leader

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