have to


Definition of have to

1 used to say that something is required or necessaryYou have to follow the rules.I told him what he had to do.We have to correct these problems soon or the project will fail.I have to remember to stop at the store."Do you have to go?" "Yes, I'm afraid I really have to."I didn't want to do it but I had to. also have got toYou've got to stop.

Note: There is a difference in meaning between not have to, "it is not necessary to," and must not, "is not allowed to."

2 used to say that something is required by a rule or lawAll passengers have to exit at the next stop.All passengers have got to exit at the next stop.
3 used to say that something is desired or should be doneYou have to read this book. It's fantastic!You have to come visit us soon.You really have to see the doctor about that cough.You have got to come visit us soon.
4 used to say that something is very likelyIt has to be close to noon.She has to be the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.He has to have a lot of money to live the way he does.There has to be some mistake.There has got to be some mistake.
5 used in various spoken phrases to emphasize a statementI have to say, I was surprised to hear from him.She's a talented actress, you have to admit.I have to admit, I expected better results.It has to be said that the movie was not very good.I have to warn you, this will not be easy.I have got to say, I was surprised to hear from him.
6 used in questions or statements that express annoyance or angerDo you have to be so unreasonable?Why does it always have to rain on the weekend?It has got to rain on the day when we planned a picnic.

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Cite this Entry

“Have to.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/have%20to. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on have to

Nglish: Translation of have to for Spanish Speakers

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