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Alternative forms[edit]


From Proto-Italic *habēō or *haβēō (< earlier *xaβējō, with voiceless velar fricative, if the shift */x/ > */h/ in the Italic languages already happened during late Proto-Italic); the latter from *xaβējō may be from *gʰeh₁bʰ-éh₁-ye-ti, from Proto-Indo-European *gʰeh₁bʰ- (to grab, to take). Compare Old Irish gaibid (takes, holds), Polish gabać (to accost, sue).

English have is not a cognate, despite similarity in meaning and form; it is instead cognate with capiō (to take) through Proto-Indo-European.

Oscan and Umbrian have cognate forms with -b-,[1] which must reflect an original -b-, because Proto-Italic -β- (and therefore PIE -bʰ-) becomes -f-, not -b-, in those languages. On the other hand, b is a seldom-attested phoneme in PIE, whose status is still disputed. Thus, the exact origin of this word is not clear.

Among the oldest attestations are the works of Plautus (circa 254 to 184 BC) and the Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus (186 BC). Umbrian cognate hab- attested in the Iguvine Tablets (oldest tablets 3rd century BC). Oscan cognate haf-[2] attested in the Tabula Bantina (89 BC).

When used as a future in Late Latin and subsequently Romance, the pronunciation evolved into /ˈaβjo/ > /ˈajo/.



habeō (present infinitive habēre, perfect active habuī, supine habitum); second conjugation

  1. to have, hold
    Synonyms: possideō, teneō
    Spero ut pacem habeant semperI hope that they may always have peace
    O di immortales, ubinam gentium sumus? Quam rem publicam habemus? In qua urbe vivimus?.
    O ye immortal gods, where on earth are we? What is the government we have? In what city are we living?
  2. to own, have (possessions)
  3. to possess, have (qualities)
    Synonyms: possideō, obtineō, teneō, capiō
    Annos viginti habet.He is twenty years old.
    • Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria 6.3.73
      triginta ... annos habere
      to be thirty years old
    • Sallust, Bellum Catalinae
      Nam divitiarum et formae gloria fluxa atque fragilis est, virtus clara aeternaque habetur.
      For the glory of wealth and beauty is fleeting and perishable; that of the mind is illustrious and possessed forever.
  4. to retain, maintain
  5. to conduct, preside over
  6. to regard, consider or account a person or thing as something
    in numerō habēreto rank
    Diemque cladis quotannis maestum habuerit ac lugubremAnd each year he considered the day of the disaster gloomy and mournful
  7. to accept, bear, endure
  8. (of feelings, problems) to affect, trouble (someone)
    • 27 BCE – 25 BCE, Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita 26.1:
      Ea tum cura maxime intentos habebat Romanos, non ab ira tantum, quae in nullam unquam ciuitatem iustior fuit, quam quod urbs tam nobilis ac potens, sicut defectione sua traxerat aliquot populos, ita recepta inclinatura rursus animos uidebatur ad ueteris imperii respectum.
      This concern in particular troubled the mindful Romans at the time, not so much because of anger, which has never been more justified against any other city, rather because a city so noble and powerful, in the same way that it had attracted the support of a number of communities by its revolt, was thought would again turn attention back towards respect for the previous government once recaptured.
  9. (Late Latin, Medieval Latin, auxiliary verb for perfect tense) to have
    Nec in publico vestimenta lavare, nec berbices tondere habeant licitumThey haven't allowed clothes to be washed in public, neither to shave sheep
    Illud sacramentum quod juratum habeoThe oath that I have sworn
  10. (Late Latin, Medieval Latin, present with infinitive) to want; will, shall, should
    Feri eum adhuc, nam si non feriveris, ego te ferire habeoHit him again, for if you don't, I shall hit you
    Currens affer illum ad me, ego enim eum habeo baptizareBring him to me quickly, I will baptize him
    Ipse enim, quia ægrotat, habeo eum visitareHe who is sick, I want to visit him
  11. (Late Latin, Medieval Latin, past imperfect with infinitive) would
  12. (Late Latin, Medieval Latin) to have to; to be compelled
    A patria Cathaloniæ se absentare habuerunt, et in fugam se constituerunt, ne justitia de ipsis fieretThey had to leave from the land of Cathalonia, and decided to escape, so that justice would not be made of them
  13. (Medieval Latin, existential) there be
    Habet in Spinogilo mansum dominicatum cum casa et aliis casticiis sufficienterThere is a lord's villa in Spinogilo with a house and other buildings

Usage notes[edit]

  • In Late Latin, as the classical synthetic future tense began to decline in speech from phonetic changes, one of the various periphrases thereof was to use the present inflections of habeo with the infinitive; originally this construction was strictly modal:
    • Late 2nd century CE, Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, Book 20, 10,2:
      si quid igitur ex Vergilio, Plauto, Ennio quaerere habes, quaeras licet.
      If you have something then to ask of Vergil & Plautus & Ennius, you may ask it.
  • Eventually it became the popular way to express the future tense in Romance:
    • Early 5th century CE, Augustine, In Evangelium Ioannis Tractatus, I, 4,2:
      Tempestas illa tollere habet totam paleam de area
      The storm will lift up all the chaff from the ground


   Conjugation of habeō (second conjugation)
indicative singular plural
first second third first second third
active present habeō habēs habet habēmus habētis habent
imperfect habēbam habēbās habēbat habēbāmus habēbātis habēbant
future habēbō habēbis habēbit habēbimus habēbitis habēbunt
perfect habuī habuistī habuit habuimus habuistis habuērunt,
pluperfect habueram habuerās habuerat habuerāmus habuerātis habuerant
future perfect habuerō habueris habuerit habuerimus habueritis habuerint
sigmatic future1 habēssō habēssis habēssit habēssimus habēssitis habēssint
passive present habeor habēris,
habētur habēmur habēminī habentur
imperfect habēbar habēbāris,
habēbātur habēbāmur habēbāminī habēbantur
future habēbor habēberis,
habēbitur habēbimur habēbiminī habēbuntur
perfect habitus + present active indicative of sum
pluperfect habitus + imperfect active indicative of sum
future perfect habitus + future active indicative of sum
subjunctive singular plural
first second third first second third
active present habeam habeās habeat habeāmus habeātis habeant
imperfect habērem habērēs habēret habērēmus habērētis habērent
perfect habuerim habuerīs habuerit habuerīmus habuerītis habuerint
pluperfect habuissem habuissēs habuisset habuissēmus habuissētis habuissent
sigmatic aorist1 habēssim habēssīs habēssīt habēssīmus habēssītis habēssint
passive present habear habeāris,
habeātur habeāmur habeāminī habeantur
imperfect habērer habērēris,
habērētur habērēmur habērēminī habērentur
perfect habitus + present active subjunctive of sum
pluperfect habitus + imperfect active subjunctive of sum
imperative singular plural
first second third first second third
active present habē habēte
future habētō habētō habētōte habentō
passive present habēre habēminī
future habētor habētor habentor
non-finite forms active passive
present perfect future present perfect future
infinitives habēre habuisse habitūrum esse habērī,
habitum esse habitum īrī
participles habēns habitūrus habitus habendus
verbal nouns gerund supine
genitive dative accusative ablative accusative ablative
habendī habendō habendum habendō habitum habitū

1At least one use of the archaic "sigmatic future" and "sigmatic aorist" tenses is attested, which are used by Old Latin writers; most notably Plautus and Terence. The sigmatic future is generally ascribed a future or future perfect meaning, while the sigmatic aorist expresses a possible desire ("might want to").
2The present passive infinitive in -ier is a rare poetic form which is attested.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



  • habeo in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • habeo”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • habeo”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • habeo in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.
  • Carl Meißner, Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[2], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to have time for a thing: tempus habere alicui rei
    • to have something in one's hands, on hand: in manibus habere aliquid (also metaphorically)
    • to treat as one's own child: aliquem in liberorum loco habere
    • I was ten years old at the time: tum habebam decem annos
    • such was the end of... (used of a violent death): talem vitae exitum (not finem) habuit (Nep. Eum. 13)
    • the facts are these; the matter stands thus: res ita est, ita (sic) se habet
    • to come to an end: finem habere
    • to turn out (well); to result (satisfactorily): eventum, exitum (felicem) habere
    • to have regard for; take into consideration: rationem habere alicuius rei
    • to have considerable influence on a question: magnam vim habere ad aliquid
    • to contain, afford matter for criticism: ansam habere reprehensionis
    • to have success in one's grasp: fortunam in manibus habere
    • to afford no consolation: nihil habere consolationis
    • to be very rich; to be in a position of affluence: magnas opes habere
    • to be well-disposed towards..: benevolentiam habere erga aliquem
    • to feel gratitude (in one's heart): gratiam alicui habere
    • to be at enmity with a man: inimicitias gerere, habere, exercere cum aliquo
    • to harp on a thing, be always talking of it: in ore habere aliquid (Fam. 6. 18. 5)
    • to have the reputation of virtue: opinionem virtutis habere
    • to honour, show respect for, a person: honorem alicui habere, tribuere
    • to be at leisure: otium habere
    • to have formed an ideal notion of a thing: comprehensam quandam animo speciem (alicuius rei) habere
    • a thing which is rather (very) dubious: quod aliquam (magnam) dubitationem habet (Leg. Agr. 1. 4. 11)
    • to know a thing for certain: aliquid compertum habere
    • I am quite certain on the point: mihi exploratum est, exploratum (certum) habeo
    • convince yourself of this; rest assured on this point: sic habeto
    • to deliberate together (of a number of people): consilium habere (de aliqua re)
    • I am resolved; it is my intention: in animo habeo or mihi est in animo c. Inf.
    • to have a theoretical knowledge of a thing: ratione, doctrina (opp. usu) aliquid cognitum habere
    • to have had great experience in a thing: magnum usum in aliqua re habere
    • we know from experience: usu cognitum habemus
    • to possess literary knowledge: litterarum scientiam (only in sing.) habere
    • to be well-informed, erudite: multa cognita, percepta habere, multa didicisse
    • to have as authority for a thing: auctorem aliquem habere alicuius rei
    • to be well acquainted with the views of philosophers: praecepta philosophorum (penitus) percepta habere
    • to give lectures: scholas habere, explicare (Fin. 2. 1. 1)
    • to know nothing of logic: disserendi artem nullam habere
    • to maintain a controversy with some one: controversiam (contentionem) habere cum aliquo
    • to be a man of taste: sensum, iudicium habere
    • to have an appreciative audience: populum facilem, aequum habere
    • to make a speech: orationem habere (Tusc. 5. 33. 94)
    • to read a speech: de scripto orationem habere, dicere (opp. sine scripto, ex memoria)
    • I have nothing to write about: non habeo argumentum scribendi
    • I have nothing to write about: non habeo, non est quod scribam
    • to be engaged on a book: librum in manibus habere (Acad. 1. 1. 2)
    • something harasses me, makes me anxious: aliquid me sollicitat, me sollicitum habet, mihi sollicitudini est, mihi sollicitudinem affert
    • I am content to..: satis habeo, satis mihi est c. Inf.
    • to be brave, courageous: bonum animum habere
    • to cherish a hope: spem habere
    • to set one's hope on some one: spem habere in aliquo
    • to possess not the least spark of feeling: nullam partem sensus habere
    • to feel affection for a person: carum habere aliquem
    • to feel affection for a person: in amore habere aliquem
    • to be some one's favourite: in amore et deliciis esse alicui (active in deliciis habere aliquem)
    • to have laid something to heart; to take an interest in a thing: curae habere aliquid
    • there is nothing I am more interested in than..: nihil antiquius or prius habeo quam ut (nihil mihi antiquius or potius est, quam ut)
    • to be admired: admirationem habere (Quintil. 8. 2. 6)
    • to believe a person: fidem habere alicui
    • to have great confidence in a thing: fiduciam (alicuius rei) habere
    • a thing finds credence, is credible: aliquid fidem habet (vid. also fides under sect. VII., History)
    • to suspect a person: suspicionem habere de aliquo
    • to be suspected of a thing: suspicionem alicuius rei habere
    • to cherish an inveterate animosity against some one: odium inveteratum habere in aliquem (Vat. 3. 6)
    • this is a characteristic of virtue, it..: virtus hoc habet, ut...
    • to overcome one's passions: coercere, cohibere, continere, domitas habere cupiditates
    • to give offense to, to shock a person (used of things, vid. sect. V. 18): offensionem habere
    • there is something repulsive about the thing: res habet aliquid offensionis
    • to have the appearance of something: speciem alicuius rei habere
    • to pay divine honours to some one: alicui divinos honores tribuere, habere
    • to have power over the people by trading on their religious scruples: religione obstrictos habere multitudinis animos (Liv. 6. 1. 10)
    • to make a thing a matter of conscience, be scrupulous about a thing: aliquid religioni habere or in religionem vertere
    • to have innate ideas of the Godhead; to believe in the Deity by intuition: insitas (innatas) dei cognitiones habere (N. D. 1. 17. 44)
    • to celebrate a festival of thanksgiving: supplicationem habere (Liv. 22. 1. 15)
    • to hold a lectisternium: lectisternium facere, habere (Liv. 22. 1. 18)
    • to possess means, to be well off: rem or opes habere, bona possidere, in bonis esse
    • to dwell in a certain place: domicilium (sedem ac domicilium) habere in aliquo loco
    • I have no means, no livelihood: non habeo, qui (unde) vivam
    • to converse, talk with a person on a subject: sermonem habere cum aliquo de aliqua re (De Am. 1. 3)
    • to be a married man: uxorem habere (Verr. 3. 33. 76)
    • to separate from, divorce (of the man): aliquam suas res sibi habere iubere (Phil. 2. 28. 69)
    • to have commercial interests in Sicily: negotia habere (in Sicilia)
    • to make a profit out of something: quaestui aliquid habere (Off. 2. 3. 13)
    • I have money owing me: pecuniam in nominibus habeo
    • to be in debt: aes alienum habere
    • to have no constitution, be in anarchy: nullam habere rem publicam
    • to fix the day for, to hold, to dismiss a meeting: concilium indicere, habere, dimittere
    • to hold a meeting of the people: comitia habere
    • to enjoy absolute immunity: immunitatem omnium rerum habere
    • to enrich oneself at the expense of the state: rem publicam quaestui habere
    • he has power over life and death: potestatem habet in aliquem vitae necisque (B. G. 1. 16. 5)
    • to hold the census: censum habere, agere (Liv. 3. 22)
    • to hold a sitting of the senate: senatum habere
    • to examine a person, a matter: quaestionem habere de aliquo, de aliqua re or in aliquem
    • to have a good case: causam optimam habere (Lig. 4. 10)
    • to hold a levy: dilectum habere
    • to be excused military duty: militiae vacationem habere
    • veterans; experienced troops: qui magnum in castris usum habent
    • to possess great experience in military matters: magnum usum in re militari habere (Sest. 5. 12)
    • to hold a council of war: consilium habere, convocare
    • to harangue the soldiers: contionem habere apud milites
    • this I have to say: haec habeo dicere or habeo quae dicam
    • the matter stands so (otherwise): res ita (aliter) se habet
  • habeo in Ramminger, Johann (2016 July 16 (last accessed)) Neulateinische Wortliste: Ein Wörterbuch des Lateinischen von Petrarca bis 1700[3], pre-publication website, 2005-2016
  1. ^ De Vaan, Michiel (2008) Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7)‎[1], Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN
  2. ^ Perfectum: hip-; Carl Darling Buck believes the f is a mistake and should be a p so the present stem would be hap-.