Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

have

 - definition
 
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
verb  strong British English pronunciation: have /hæv/  weak British English pronunciation: have /əv/ British English pronunciation: have /həv/ 
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theyhave
he/she/ithas
present participlehaving
past tensehad
past participlehad
Have can be used in the following ways:
as an auxiliary verb in perfect tenses of verbs (followed by a past participle): We have lived here for 20 years.Who's eaten all the grapes? (used without a following past participle): Ellen hasn't finished, but I have. Questions, negatives, and question tags using the auxiliary verb have are formed without do: Has the meeting finished?You haven't eaten anything.The customers haven't complained, have they?
as a transitive verb used in descriptions and for talking about possession, relationships, or the state that someone or something is in: She has dark curly hair.He had two sisters. This use of have is never in progressive or passive forms. Have got is often used instead of have for these meanings, especially in spoken English and informal writing: Alan's got a new bike. Questions and negatives can be formed by using have got, have alone, or do: Have you got any money?Have you any money?Do you have any money?We haven't got any money.We haven't any money.We don't have any money. Question tags are formed with have when the main verb is have got: They've got a lovely garden, haven't they?
as a transitive verb used for talking about actions and experiences: Let's have a swim before lunch.I had a good time at the party. This use of have can sometimes be in the progressive but is almost never in the passive: She's having a baby.Are you having a drink? Have got is not used, and neither short forms of have nor weak forms of pronunciation are ever used in these meanings. Questions, negatives, and question tags are formed with do: Did you have a nice walk?I didn't have breakfast this morning.They had quite a bad accident, didn't they?
as a transitive verb (followed by an object and then a participle or infinitive without 'to'): How often do you have your hair cut?I'll have someone clean out your room. This use of have can be in the progressive: I'm having all the carpets cleaned. Questions, negatives, and question tags are formed with do: Did you have the engine checked?
as a verb used for talking about what is necessary (followed by a verb in the infinitive with 'to'): I had to wait for an hour. (followed by 'to' without a verb in the infinitive): We'll fight for our rights if we have to. This use of have can be in the progressive: I was having to work every weekend. Have got to is often used instead of have to, especially in spoken English and in informal writing: You've got to show your passport. Questions can be formed using do, have got, or have alone: Do we have to pay now?Have we got to pay now?Have we to pay now? Negative sentences are usually formed with do or have got: You don't have to pay yet.You haven't got to pay yet. Question tags are usually formed with do: We have to take a test, don't we?
 
  1. 1
    used for forming perfect tenses [auxiliary verb] [never progressive]
    1. a.
      used for forming the perfect tenses of verbs. The perfect tenses are used for talking about what happened or began before now or another point in time

      Has anybody seen Dave this afternoon?

      I've been looking for you everywhere.

      She hadn't eaten anything for three days.

      'Has Jerry done his homework?' 'No, he hasn't.'

      'Have you washed your hands?' 'Of course I have.'

      We didn't get a chance to talk to her, but I wish we had.

      Young Benson's done very well, hasn't he?

      So, you've decided to join the party, have you?

    2. b.
      had someone/something done something... used for saying that something would have happened if the situation had been different

      Had I realized what you were intending to do, I would have stopped you.

  2. 2

    have

    or

    have got

    used for describing someone/something [transitive] [never progressive]
    1. a.
      used for saying what the physical features of someone or something are

      Dr Morel had dark piercing eyes.

      The room had a balcony facing the sea.

      I noticed that the old man hadn't got any teeth.

    2. b.
      used for saying what the qualities of someone's character are

      Shackleton had all the qualities of a great leader.

      Unfortunately, she hadn't got enough common sense to call the doctor.

      have it in you/have what it takes (to do something) (=have the necessary qualities to do something):

      It was Jane who led the protest. I never knew she had it in her.

      Do you think Ken's got what it takes to be good doctor?

  3. 3

    have

    or

    have got

    used for showing possession [transitive] [never progressive]
    1. a.
      to own something

      They have a house in Hanover Square.

      If you had a computer, I could send the directions to you by email.

    2. b.
      to be holding something or carrying something with you

      What's that you've got in your hand?

      Do you have a pen I could borrow?

      have something on you:

      I haven't got any money on me.

  4. 4
    do or experience something [transitive] [never passive]
    1. a.
      to do something
      have a look/walk/try etc:

      Let's have a look at the damage.

      I don't know if I can persuade her, but at least I can have a try.

      You'll feel better when you've had a rest.

      We had a meeting on Thursday afternoon.

    2. b.
      used for saying that something happens to you or you experience something

      We almost had an accident on the motorway.

      Keith's been having a lot of problems with his computer.

      Bill is going into hospital to have a knee operation.

      have a good time/a bad day etc:

      Did you have a good time at the party?

      I've had a terrible day at the office.

      have something done (=something happens to you):

      While they were on holiday, they had their car broken into.

  5. 5

    have

    or

    have got

    used for stating a relationship [transitive] [never progressive]
    1. a.
      used for stating the relationship between someone and their family members

      They've got two kids of their own.

      She has a cousin living nearby.

    2. b.
      used for stating the relationship between someone and their friends, enemies, people they work with etc

      I've got a friend who works at the BBC.

      Gary knew he had some dangerous enemies.

      I hear you've got a new boss.

  6. 6
    [transitive] [never passive] to eat or drink something. This word is often used in polite offers and requests

    Can I have another piece of that delicious cake?

    Let me buy you a drink. What'll you have?

    Why don't you stay and have lunch with us?

    I'll have (=used for requesting food or drink in a restaurant):

    I'll have the roast beef, please.

  7. 7

    have

    or

    have got

    when you should or must do something
    1. a.
      if you have to do something, you must do it because it is necessary
      have to do something:

      I had to leave early to collect the children from school.

      If you want to use the fax machine, you'll have to ask Shirley.

      We're having to be very careful not to upset our customers.

      There will have to be an official investigation into the accident.

      do not have to do something (=it is not necessary):

      You don't have to come if you don't want to.

      I'm glad we haven't got to get up early tomorrow.

    2. b.
      if you have something to do, you must do it
      have something to do:

      Mr Klein couldn't stay – he had something to attend to.

      I can't stand here talking to you all day – I have work to do.

  8. 8

    have

    or

    have got

    [never progressive] used in phrases to say that someone is able to do something
    have the ability/power/authority (to do something):

    It's clear that the country has the ability to produce nuclear weapons.

    I'm afraid I don't have the authority to approve the sale.

    have permission/a right (to do something):

    East Germans could not travel to the West unless they had special permission.

    Everyone has a right to express their opinion.

    have the chance/opportunity (to do something):

    Some of us never had the chance to go to university.

  9. 9

    have

    or

    have got

    [transitive] [never progressive] to contain or include parts, members etc

    The Green Party now has nearly 50,000 members.

    The museum has two large rooms devoted to natural history.

  10. 10

    have

    or

    have got

    when something is available [transitive] [never progressive]
    1. a.
      used for saying that a person, shop, hotel etc can offer you something to buy or use

      Have you got a double room for 23 June?

      If you want the BBC Music Magazine, they have it at WH Smith's.

      Have you got room for another one in your car?

    2. b.
      if you have time for something, time is available for you to do it
      have for:

      We've just about got time for a quick swim before breakfast.

      have time to do something:

      I didn't have time to cook anything.

  11. 11

    have

    or

    have got

    [transitive] used for saying that someone is visiting you or spending time with you

    We have friends staying with us at present.

    have someone with you:

    I'm afraid the manager's got someone with her at the moment.

    have guests/visitors/company:

    I don't want the children fooling around when I have guests.

  12. 12

    have

    or

    have got

    [transitive] [never progressive] used for saying that there is an idea, a belief, or a feeling in your mind

    I don't have any doubt at all about the success of our policies.

    Do you ever have a feeling that you're being watched?

    have an idea/plan/suggestion etc:

    Has anyone got a better idea?

  13. 13
    [transitive] [never passive] to make something happen
    have an effect/result/influence/impact:

    Hutton's book had a major impact on public opinion in this country.

    Any increase in the rate of inflation could have a serious effect on levels of unemployment.

    1. a.

      have

      or

      have got

      [transitive] [never progressive] [never passive] to make someone have a particular feeling or do something in a particular way
      have someone worried/puzzled/in tears:

      His sad story almost had us in tears.

      You had me worried for a moment – I thought you weren't coming.

      have someone doing something:

      We need to have everyone sitting down at the same table.

  14. 14
    [transitive] [never passive] to arrange for something to be done or for someone to do something
    have something done:

    The place is looking much better since they had it redecorated.

    The Queen had her portrait painted by Pietro Annigoni.

    have someone do something:

    I'll have the porter bring your luggage up right away.

  15. 15

    have

    or

    have got

    [transitive] [never passive] used for saying that something happens in an area, group, organization etc that affects people there

    They've had snow up in Scotland.

    have had enough (of something) (=not want something to happen any longer):

    The people of Northern Ireland have had enough of violence.

    have someone doing something:

    Last year the place was so full we had people sleeping on the floor.

    Take lots of snacks or you'll have the kids complaining.

  16. 16

    have

    or

    have got

    [transitive] [never progressive] used for saying that you have put something in a particular position or have arranged it in a particular way

    Ralph had his back to the door, so he didn't see me come in.

    She's got her hair tied up in a bun today.

    He'd got the book open in front of him.

  17. 17

    have

    or

    have got

    [transitive] [never progressive] to suffer from an illness, disease, injury, or pain

    I've got a terrible headache.

    James had malaria while he was working in West Africa.

    The X-rays show that he has a broken ankle.

  18. 18

    have

    or

    have got

    receive something [transitive] [never progressive]
    1. a.
      to receive a letter, message, or telephone call

      I had a letter from my bank manager yesterday.

      We've not had any news from home.

      You have a phone call – do you want to take it in your office?

    2. b.
      to receive help or advice

      She had a lot of help and support from her friends.

    3. c.
      to receive complaints or criticism

      The airline has had thousands of complaints about delays and cancelled flights.

  19. 19

    have

    or

    have got

    [intransitive] [never progressive] used for showing that you are certain that something happens or is true, or for showing that you hope very much that it happens or is true

    Things have to get better – they can't get any worse.

    He's just got to come, or I'll die!

  20. 20

    have

    or

    have got

    [transitive] [never progressive] to be responsible for doing a particular job or the work of an official position
    have a job/position/post etc:

    He can't pay the rent because he hasn't got a job.

    Foley had a junior post in the Foreign Office.

  21. 21

    have

    or

    have got

    [transitive] [never progressive] used for saying that something has been planned or arranged for a particular time

    I've got an appointment with the dentist tomorrow afternoon.

    Geoffrey's got lectures all day tomorrow.

  22. 22

    have

    or

    have got

    [transitive] [never progressive] to be holding someone by a particular part of their body so that they cannot get away
    have someone by something:

    I couldn't get away – he had me by the arm.

  23. 23
    [transitive] [never progressive] if you have someone who does a particular job, they work for you, usually in a much lower position

    We have a man who comes in and cuts the grass once a fortnight.

  24. 24
    [transitive] [never progressive] informal to have sex with someone

    He thinks he can have any woman he wants.

phrases

See also
 

dark pool

a method of financial trading in which share prices are hidden and not openly available to the public

BuzzWord Article

Word of the Day

bottom gear

the gear that you use for driving a vehicle very slowly

Open Dictionary

subtweet

to post a tweet, usually a negative one, that mentions a person without using the @ sign, so that they will not see the message on their Twitter feed …

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog