Meaning of “have” in the English Dictionary

"have" in British English

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haveauxiliary verb [ + past participle ]

uk strong /hæv/ weak /həv/ /əv/ us strong /hæv/ weak /həv/ /əv/ had, had also 've/'s

A2 used with the past participle of other verbs to form the present perfect and past perfect:

I've heard that story before.
Diane's already gone.
John hasn't phoned.
I haven't visited London before.
Have you seen Roz?
Has she been invited?
They still hadn't had any news when I spoke to them yesterday.
formal Had I known (= if I had known) you were coming, I'd have booked a larger room.

More examples

  • Talks between management and unions have collapsed.
  • House prices have come down recently.
  • Lots of people have complained about the noise.
  • Many miners have suffered from the effects of coal dust in their lungs.
  • I could never have achieved this without the encouragement of my husband and family.

haveverb

uk strong /hæv/ /həv/ /əv/ us /hæv/ /həv/ /əv/ had

have verb (POSSESS)

A1 [ T not continuous ] also 've/'s, UK also have got to own:

They have a beautiful home.
He has plenty of money but no style.
I've got two brothers.
Do you have time to finish the report today?
I've got a suggestion/an idea.
have the decency, good sense, etc. to do sth

to do one good thing, although you do other bad or silly things:

At least he had the good sense to turn the gas off.
At least she had the decency to apologize.

More examples

  • These books have lovely clear print.
  • The school likes to have a contact number for parents during school hours.
  • Now that we have cable, we get a wonderfully crisp picture, even on our old TV.
  • I love football, but unfortunately I have no talent as a player.
  • At some point in the distant future I would like to have my own house.

have verb (BE ILL)

A1 [ T ] UK also have got If you have a particular illness, you suffer from it:

Have you ever had measles?
I've got a cold.

More examples

  • Following a routine check-up, Mrs Mason was discovered to have heart disease.
  • Emily has a very nasty cough.
  • She went home early because she had a bad headache.
  • My sister has diabetes and has to give herself insulin injections.
  • I had a terrible hangover the next morning.
  • John had a heart attack three years ago.

have verb (DO)

A2 [ T ] to perform the action mentioned:

I had a swim.
We had a short walk after lunch.
I've never done it before but I'd like to have a try (= to try).
Why don't you have a rest?

More examples

  • She likes to have an afternoon nap.
  • May I have a look at your newspaper?" "Of course you can."
  • I'll bring some food along and we can have a picnic.
  • I had a chat with my boss today about a possible salary increase.
  • We had a dance and afterwards we sat outside and talked.

have verb (EAT/DRINK)

A1 [ T ] to eat or drink something:

I had prawns and rice for lunch.
Can I have a drink of water?
When are we having dinner?

More examples

  • Make sure your hands are clean before you have your dinner.
  • May I show you to your table, sir, or would you prefer to have a drink at the bar first?
  • My father always has a biscuit and a cup of tea at bedtime.
  • Let's go out on Friday - we'll have a curry and then go to the movies.
  • Why don't we have lunch together on Friday?

have verb (RECEIVE/ALLOW)

[ T ] to receive, accept, or allow something to happen:

Here, have some more coffee.
[ + to infinitive ] My mother's having visitors (to stay) next week.
Let me have the book back next week.
In the end they solved their problems and she had him back (= allowed him to come and live with her again).
I looked in all the shops for Worcestershire sauce but there was none to be had (= none that anyone could obtain).
I kept telling him that you were French but he wouldn't have it (= would not accept that it was true).
[ + -ing verb ] I won't have those kids running all over my flowerbeds (= I refuse to allow them to do this).

More examples

  • You would be wise to have the appropriate vaccinations before you go abroad.
  • Let me have your decision by next week.
  • I don't want to diminish her achievements, but she did have a lot of help.
  • I've had a letter from the tax authorities concerning my tax payments.
  • My father wouldn't have any animals in the house.

have verb (MAKE HAPPEN)

B1 [ T ] to cause something to happen or someone to do something:

[ + past participle ] We're having the house painted next month.
[ + infinitive without to ] If you wait, I'll have someone collect it for you.
Gus will have it working in no time.
She had her parents down (= invited them to stay) for a week in the summer.
We had the boat out (= went out in the boat) for the first time this week.
We often have friends over/round (= invite them to come) on a Saturday night.

More examples

  • Many chemicals have a damaging effect on the environment.
  • This decision will have dire consequences for local people.
  • I took the coat back to the shop to have it altered.
  • Have you had your ears pierced? Oh yes, I can see you have.
  • I haven't had my holiday photos developed yet.

have verb (EXPERIENCE)

A2 [ T ] to experience something:

We're having a wonderful time here in Venice.
We didn't have any difficulty/problem finding the house.
He hasn't been having much luck recently.

More examples

  • I think she's very conscious of being the only person in the office who didn't have a university education.
  • I sometimes have difficulty distinguishing Spanish from Portuguese.
  • I've never had any doubt at all - I know this is the right thing to do.
  • Like so many men, he has problems committing himself to a relationship.
  • She had a strong desire to go back to her home country before she died.

have verb (BABY)

A2 [ T ] to give birth to a baby:

Elaine had a baby girl yesterday.
My mother had me at home.
be having a baby, twins, etc.

to be pregnant:

I hear his wife's having a baby.

More examples

  • I expect they plan to have children in the course of time.
  • Your life changes dramatically when you have a baby.
  • They were so late getting to the hospital, she nearly had her baby in the taxi.
  • Have you heard whether Susan's had the baby yet?
  • My sister-in-law had two sets of twins.

have verb (SEX)

[ T not continuous ] mainly UK slang to have sex with someone:

He asked me how many men I'd had.

havemodal verb

uk strong /hæv/ /həv/ /əv/ us /hæv/ /həv/ /əv/
have (got) to do sth

More examples

  • You have to go to college for a lot of years if you want to be a doctor.
  • Those pictures will have to come down .
  • We may have to sell the house, but I hope it won't come to that.
  • Obviously teachers have to be good communicators.
  • The children have to learn to tidy up after themselves .

A2 to need to or be forced:

I have to go to San Francisco tomorrow on business.
What time do you have to be there?
Do we have to finish this today?
We'll have to start keeping detailed records.
Jackie's ill so they've had to change their plans.

C2 used to say that something must be true:

That total has to be right - I've checked it twice.

(Definition of “have” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"have" in American English

See all translations

haveauxiliary verb

us /hæv, həv, əv, v/ present tense has /hæz, həz, əz/ , past tense and past participle had /hæd, həd, əd/

have auxiliary verb (PERFECT TENSE)

used with the past participle of other verbs to form perfect tenses:

I have heard that story before.
"Have we been invited?" "Yes, we have."

have verb [ T ] (DO)

us /hæv/ present tense has /hæz, həz, əz/ , past tense and past participle had /hæd, həd, əd/ to do an action:

He didn’t have a birthday party this year.
The baby is having her nap.

us /hæv/ present tense has /hæz, həz, əz/ , past tense and past participle had /hæd, həd, əd/ Have can also mean eat or drink:

We’re going to have lunch.

us /hæv/ present tense has /hæz, həz, əz/ , past tense and past participle had /hæd, həd, əd/ To have a baby is to give birth:

Glennis had a girl.

have verb [ T ] (RECEIVE)

us /hæv/ present tense has /hæz, həz, əz/ , past tense and past participle had /hæd, həd, əd/ to receive or accept something, or to allow something to happen:

I’ll have some more coffee.
I just had a phone call from Judy.
I won’t have those kids running through my flower bed.

have verb [ T ] (CAUSE)

us /hæv/ present tense has /hæz, həz, əz/ , past tense and past participle had /hæd, həd, əd/ to cause something to happen, or to cause someone to do something:

We’re having the house painted.
She had her parents come to her house for Thanksgiving.
We often have friends over.

have verb [ T ] (EXPERIENCE)

us /hæv/ present tense has /hæz, həz, əz/ , past tense and past participle had /hæd, həd, əd/ to experience something:

She had her car stolen last week.
have a good/great/nice something

If you say have a good/great/nice something you are saying that you hope someone enjoys a particular period of time:

Thanks for shopping with us, and have a good day!
Have a great trip, and drive safely!

have verb [ T ] (POSSESS)

us /hæv, həv/ present tense has /hæz, həz, əz/ , past tense and past participle had /hæd, həd, əd/ also have got, /hævˈɡɑt, həv-/ to own or possess something:

We have a dog.
Have you got a cold?
I’ve got a big nose.
Have you got any money on you (= Are you carrying money with you)?

us /hæv, həv/ present tense has /hæz, həz, əz/ , past tense and past participle had /hæd, həd, əd/ also have got, /hævˈɡɑt, həv-/ Have can also mean to be related to, or to know:

Carol has six sisters.
I’ve got a friend who could lend us a car.

us /hæv, həv/ present tense has /hæz, həz, əz/ , past tense and past participle had /hæd, həd, əd/ also have got, /hævˈɡɑt, həv-/ If a store has something, it is available to be bought:

While you’re there, see if they have any toothpicks.
Note: Have got is used only in the present tense.

have verb [ T ] (CONTAIN)

us /hæv, həv/ present tense has /hæz, həz, əz/ , past tense and past participle had /hæd, həd, əd/ also have got, /hævˈɡɑt, həv-/ to contain or include something:

The Chicago area has a population of about eight million.
Our house has three bedrooms and two baths.
We have a few minutes left before the end of class.

(Definition of “have” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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