\ˈhav, (h)əv, v; in "have to" meaning "must" usually ˈhaf\
had\ˈhad, (h)əd, d \; having\ˈha-viŋ \; has\ˈhaz, (h)əz, z, s; in "has to" meaning "must" usually ˈhas \

Definition of have 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : 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 dohave a deadline to meet

3 : to stand in a certain relationship to has three fine children we will have the wind at our backs

4a : 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

5a : 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

6a : 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

7a : 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

10a : 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 sense 3a have a baby

12 : to partake of have dinner have a piece

13 : bribe, suborn can be had for a price

auxiliary verb

1 used with the past participle to form the present perfect, past perfect, or future perfect has gone homehad already eatenwill have finished dinner by then

2 : to be compelled, obliged, or required used with an infinitive with to or to alone we had to godo what you have toit 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

1a : 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


\ˈhav \

Definition of have (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of have in a Sentence


Do they have a new car? You can have it until I get back. She has a red bike, and I have a blue one. She got another part-time job and now she has two jobs. I'm looking for the newspaper. Do you have it? He had the newspaper right in his hand. I used to have a necklace like that, but I lost it. She used to share a room with her sister, but now she has her own room. Have they got a new car? We've got things to do.


a society that discriminates between the haves and the have-nots
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

No doubt this has left you with an overwhelming set of questions about the latest must-haves. refinery29.com, "How To Shop Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale Before Everyone Else," 13 July 2018 While homeowners have one set of must-haves, like a reliable professional who will do the job well, contractors keep another list. New York Times, "Being Ghosted By the Contractor," 8 June 2018 With differing beauty looks comes a list of unique must-haves for each sibling. Marissa Desantis, Teen Vogue, "Joseph's Sibling Members on Keeping Their Individuality Through Beauty," 21 Mar. 2018 Go-bags and emergency kits containing important documents, medications, tools, and sustanance are must-haves. Katherine Blunt, Houston Chronicle, "Extreme weather expo draws larger crowd with Harvey still fresh on Houstonians’ minds," 2 June 2018 By living longer and healthier lives, the haves have more opportunity to influence the politicians who craft the policies and programs that distribute public goods and services. Cristian Capotescu, Washington Post, "Poor people die younger in the U.S. That skews American politics.," 31 May 2018 Though the haves are cashing in, the have-nots are having trouble affording rising prices for everything from groceries to housing. Jeffrey Ball, Fortune, "Photographing The Permian Basin," 25 May 2018 The members of Joshua Salas’ family of five have endured an unfortunate slew of medical problems, but the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing or chronic conditions have made their situation at least manageable. Austin Horn, San Antonio Express-News, "With ACA under attack, a family racked by illness wonders what will happen to their health coverage," 13 July 2018 The digital haves are getting richer, more efficient, and more creative while the digital have nots are being left behind. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Data Sheet—How to Share Benefits of the Digital Future With More People," 27 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of have


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1836, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for have


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


see have entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about have

Statistics for have

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for have

The first known use of have was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for have


\ˈhav, həv, əv, in sense 3 before "to" usually ˈhaf\
past & past participle had\ˈhad, həd, əd \; present participle having\ˈha-viŋ \; present third person singular has\ˈhas, həz, əz \

Kids Definition of have

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 : permit entry 1 sense 1 We'll have none of that.

16 : trick entry 2 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 : exercise entry 2 sense 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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on have

What made you want to look up have? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!