v. had (hăd), hav·ing, has (hăz)
a. To be in possession of: already had a car.
b. To possess as a characteristic, quality, or function: has a beard; had a great deal of energy.
c. To possess or contain as a constituent part: a car that has air bags.
2. To occupy a particular relation to: had many disciples.
3. To possess knowledge of or facility in: has very little Spanish.
4. To hold in the mind; entertain: had doubts about their loyalty.
5. To use or exhibit in action: have compassion.
a. To come into possession of; acquire: Not one copy of the book was to be had in the entire town.
b. To receive; get: I had a letter from my cousin.
c. To accept; take: I'll have the peas instead of the spinach.
a. To suffer from: have defective vision.
b. To be subject to the experience of: had a difficult time last winter.
a. To cause to do something, as by persuasion or compulsion: had my assistant run the errand.
b. To cause to be in a specified place or state: had the guests in the dining room; had everyone fascinated.
9. To permit; allow: I won't have that kind of behavior in my house.
10. To carry on, perform, or execute: have an argument.
a. To place at a disadvantage: Your opponent in the debate had you on every issue.
b. Informal To get the better of, especially by trickery or deception: They realized too late that they'd been had by a swindler.
c. Informal To influence by dishonest means; bribe: an incorruptible official who could not be had.
a. To procreate (offspring): wanted to have a child.
b. To give birth to; bear: She's going to have a baby.
13. To partake of: have lunch.
14. To be obliged to; must: We simply have to get there on time.
15. To engage in sexual intercourse with.
Used with a past participle to form the present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect tenses indicating completed action: The troublemaker has gone for good. I regretted that I had lost my temper. They will have finished by the time we arrive.
One enjoying especially material wealth: "The gulf widens between the feast of the haves and the famine of the have-nots" (Salman Rushdie).
1. To wear: had on red shoes.
2. To be scheduled: We have a dinner party on for Friday.
have a mind to
To be inclined to (do something).
had better/best Usage Problem
To be wise or obliged to; should or must: He had better do what he is told. You had best bring a raincoat in this weather.
have done with
To stop; cease: Have done with your quibbling!
have had it Informal
1. To have endured all that one can: I've had it with their delays.
2. To be in a state beyond remedy, repair, or salvage: That coat has had it.
3. To have done everything that is possible or that will be permitted.
have in mind
1. To remember or think of: She has your best interests in mind.
2. To intend or be inclined (to do something): I have in mind to sell the house.
1. To assert; maintain: Rumor has it that he quit.
2. To think and act with respect to (something being considered): Have it your way.
3. To gain a victory in a voice vote: The ayes have it.
have/have got it all over
To be much better than (someone) at a particular endeavor.
have/have got it in for
To act in a hostile manner toward or intend to harm (someone), especially because of a grudge.
have/have got it in (one)
To have the capacity or disposition to (to do something).
have it out
To settle decisively, especially by means of an argument or a discussion.
have/have got nothing on (someone)
1. To fail to be equal or superior to (someone) in a particular way.
2. To know or be able to prove information regarding (someone).
have (something) coming
To deserve what one receives: You had that reprimand coming for a very long time.
have/have got (someone's) back
To protect or shield someone from harm, loss, or danger.
have to do with
To be concerned or associated with.
[Middle English haven, from Old English habban; see kap- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: The idioms had better and had best resemble an auxiliary verb in that their form never changes to show person or tense and that they cannot follow another verb in a phrase. In informal speech, people tend to omit had, especially with had better, as in You better clean up your room! In formal contexts and in writing, however, had should be kept either in full or as a contraction: We had better revise the proposal or We'd better revise the proposal. See Usage Note at rather.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.