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Alternative forms

  • abe? (Vulgar or Late Latin, Pompeian inscriptions)


From Proto-Italic *hab or *ha, the latter may be from Proto-Indo-European *g?eh?b?- ("to grab, to take"). Compare Old Irish gaibid ("to take, hold"), Polish gaba? ("to grab, snatch"). English have is not a cognate, despite similarity in meaning and form; it is instead cognate with capi? ("to take") through Proto-Indo-European.

Oscan and Umbrian have cognate forms with -b-[1], which must reflect an original -b-, because Proto-Italic -?- (and therefore PIE -b?-) becomes -f-, not -b-, in those languages. On the other hand, b is a rare 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).



habe? (present infinitive hab?re, perfect active habu?, supine habitum); second conjugation

  1. I have, hold.
    Spero ut pacem habeant semper.
    I hope that they may always have peace.
    • 63 B.C.E., Cicero, Catiline Orations (Latin text and English translations here)
      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. I own, have (possessions).
  3. I possess, have (qualities).
    Annos viginti habet.
    He is twenty years old.
    Literally: He has twenty years
    • 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. I retain, maintain.
  5. I conduct, preside over.
  6. I regard, consider or account a person or thing as something.
    in numer? hab?re - to rank
    Diemque cladis quotannis maestum habuerit ac lugubrem.
    And each year he considered the day of the disaster gloomy and mournful
  7. I accept, bear, endure.
  8. (of feelings, problems) I affect, trouble (someone).
    • 27 BCE - 25 BCE, Titus Livius, Ab urbe condita libri 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) I have
    • 430-489, Caius Sollius Modestus Apollinaris Sidonius, Epistolae Liber Octavus, Epistola I, page 278:
      [...] hoc quasi stagnum pernavigemus nam satis habeo deliberatum, sicut adhibendam in consciptione diligentiam [...]
    Nec in publico vestimenta lavare, nec berbices tondere habeant licitum .
    They haven't allowed clothes to be washed in public, neither to shave sheep.
    • Illud sacramentum quod juratum habeo .
      The oath that I have sworn.
  10. (Late Latin, Medieval Latin) want, will, shall, should
    Feri eum adhuc, nam si non feriveris, ego te ferire habeo.
    Hit him again, for if you don't, I shall hit you.
    • Currens affer illum ad me, ego enim eum habeo baptizare.
      Bring him to me quickly, I will baptize him.
      Ipse enim, quia ægrotat, habeo eum visitare.
      He who is sick, I want to visit him.
  11. (Late Latin, Medieval Latin, past imperfect with infinitive) would
    • 354-430, Augustinus Hipponensis, SERMO CCLIII, page 253:
      Sanare te habebat Deus per indulgentiam, si fatereris.
  12. (Late Latin, Medieval Latin) I have to; I am compelled
    A patria Cathaloniæ se absentare habuerunt, et in fugam se constituerunt, ne justitia de ipsis fieret.
    They had to leave from the land of Cathalonia, and decided to escape, so that justice would not be made of them.
  13. (Medieval Latin, impersonal) there be
    Habet in Spinogilo mansum dominicatum cum casa et aliis casticiis sufficienter.
    There is a lord's villa in Spinogilo with a house and other buildings.

Usage notes

  • Another way of denoting ownership besides using the verb habe? is using the possessor in the dative case (e.g. mihi ("to me"), tibi ("to you"), n?b?s ("to us")) with the copula esse ("to be"), literally asking whether the item in question "is at you". For example:
    Hab?sne epistolas? - Do you have the letters?
    Suntne tibi epistolae? - Do you have the letters? (literally, Are the letters for you?)
  • And to answer one could say:
    Ita est, habeo epistolas. - Yes, I have the letters.
    Etiam, sunt mihi epistolae. - Yes, I have the letters. (literally, Yes indeed, the letters are for me.)
  • A more common way to express age, especially found in the writings of both Cicero and Cornelius Nepos, is the idiom aliquot annos natus sum (lit. "I have been born for some number of years"):
    [Cato], qui annos quinque et octoginta natus excessit e vita, ... (Cicero, Brutus 80)
    Cato, who died when he was 85 years old, ...


   Conjugation of habe? (second conjugation)
indicative singular plural
first second third first second third
active present habe? hab?s habet hab?mus hab?tis habent
imperfect hab?bam hab?b?s hab?bat hab?b?mus hab?b?tis hab?bant
future hab?b? hab?bis hab?bit hab?bimus hab?bitis hab?bunt
perfect habu? habuist? habuit habuimus habuistis habu?runt, habu?re
pluperfect habueram habuer?s habuerat habuer?mus habuer?tis habuerant
future perfect habuer? habueris habuerit habuerimus habueritis habuerint
passive present habeor hab?ris, hab?re hab?tur hab?mur hab?min? habentur
imperfect hab?bar hab?b?ris, hab?b?re hab?b?tur hab?b?mur hab?b?min? hab?bantur
future hab?bor hab?beris, hab?bere hab?bitur hab?bimur hab?bimin? hab?buntur
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 habe?s habeat habe?mus habe?tis habeant
imperfect hab?rem hab?r?s hab?ret hab?r?mus hab?r?tis hab?rent
perfect habuerim habuer?s habuerit habuer?mus habuer?tis habuerint
pluperfect habuissem habuiss?s habuisset habuiss?mus habuiss?tis habuissent
passive present habear habe?ris, habe?re habe?tur habe?mur habe?min? habeantur
imperfect hab?rer hab?r?ris, hab?r?re hab?r?tur hab?r?mur hab?r?min? hab?rentur
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 hab? hab?te
future hab?t? hab?t? hab?t?te habent?
passive present hab?re hab?min?
future hab?tor hab?tor habentor
non-finite forms active passive
present perfect future present perfect future
infinitives hab?re habuisse habit?rum esse hab?r?, hab?rier1 habitum esse habitum ?r?
participles hab?ns habit?rus habitus habendus
verbal nouns gerund supine
genitive dative accusative ablative accusative ablative
habend? habend? habendum habend? habitum habit?

1The present passive infinitive in -ier is a rare poetic form which is attested for this verb.

Derived terms

Related terms



  • 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 (accessed 16 July 2016) 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-.

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