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Idioms and Expressions - Have

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The following idioms and expressions use the verb 'have'. Each idiom or expression has a definition and two example sentences to help understanding of these common idiomatic expressions with 'have'. Once you have studied these expressions, test your knowledge with quiz testing idioms and expressions with have.

have a big mouth

Definition: somebody who tells secrets, who is a gossip

Don't talk to Mary she has a big mouth.
If you didn't have such a big mouth, I'd tell you my secrets.

have a bee in your bonnet

Definition: have an obsession, something that always remains in your thoughts and efforts

She has a bee in her bonnet that health care must change.
If I have a bee in my bonnet, I have to do everything I can until I can make it happen.

have a bone to pick with someone

Definition: have something (usually a complaint) that you want to discuss with someone

I have a bone to pick with you. Just a moment, let's talk.
Tom's looking for Pete because he's got a bone to pick with him.

have a brush with something

Definition: have brief contact, or experience with someone or something

I had a brief brush with Jack and I didn't like it.
He's had a brief brush with unemployment.

have a chip on your shoulder

Definition: be in a bad mood and challenging people to fight

Don't take him seriously, he just has a chip on his shoulder.
Yes, I have a chip on my shoulder! What are YOU going to do about it?!

have a close call

Definition: be close to danger

I had a close call yesterday and was almost in an accident.
She's had a few close calls in her life.

have a familiar ring

Definition: sound familiar, as if you've heard it before

That story has a familiar ring. Did we read that last year?
Her experiences have a familiar ring. I guess everybody goes through that.

have a good head on your shoulders

Definition: have common sense, be sensible

Jack has a good head on his shoulders. Don't worry about him.
I think you have a good head on your shoulders. You should trust your decision.

have a green thumb

Definition: be very good at gardening

Alice obviously has a green thumb. Look at that garden!
My wife has a green thumb, so I let her do all the gardening.

have a heart

Definition: be compassionate or generous and forgiving with somebody

Don't hold that against her. Have a heart!
I think he'll have a heart and forgive you.

have a heart of gold

Definition: be generous and sincere

Mary has a heart of gold. I just love her.
The teacher has a heart of gold with her students.

have a heart of stone

Definition: be cold and unresponsive, unforgiving

Don't make him angry. He has a heart of stone.
I can't believe how he treats his children. He's got a heart of stone.

have an ax to grind

Definition: complain about something often

He has an ax to grind against his health care provider.
I know you have an ax to grind against Agatha, but stop complaining!

have an in with someone

Definition: have special access to someone (often used at work)

She has an in with the boss. Let her ask him for permission.
I wish I had an in with the director so I could get a promotion.

have a one-track mind

Definition: always thinking about one thing

He has a one track mind. He can't talk about anything besides golf.
Do you have a one-track mind?

have a soft spot in your heart for someone or something

Definition: love or adore a thing or person

I've got a soft spot in my heart for Maria Callas.
He has a soft spot in his heart for pinball!

have a sweet tooth

Definition: like sweets too much

I know you have a sweet tooth, but you need to be careful.
I need to watch my weight, especially because I have a sweet tooth.

have clean hands

Definition: to without guilt, guiltless

Don't blame him, he has clean hands.
The man claimed to have clean hands in the crime.

have egg on one's face

Definition: be embarrassed after having done something very stupid

I had egg on my face after I asked that stupid question.
I don't think he realizes he has egg on his face.

have eyes in the back of your head

Definition: seem able to follow everything that is going on, even though you do not focus on it

She has eyes in the back of her head. Be careful!
The students believed their teacher had eyes in the back his head.

have mixed feelings

Definition: to be uncertain about something or someone

Janice has mixed feelings about Ken.
Brad has mixed feelings about buying a new car.

have money to burn

Definition: have an excess of money

Don't worry about it! She's got money to burn.
Do you think I have money to burn?! Of course, I can't buy you a diamond ring.

have your hands tied

Definition: be prevented from doing something

I'm afraid I have my hands tied and can't help you.
Peter told me he had his hands tied on the Franklin deal.

have your head in the clouds

Definition: to not pay attention to what is going on around you

Doug had his head in the clouds all the time he was at university.
Do you have you head in the clouds?! Pay attention!

have your tail between your leg

Definition: be afraid of something, not have courage to do something

He just couldn't approach her. He seemed to have his tail between his legs.
Janet went to her father with her tail between her legs and asked for forgiveness.

have other fish to fry

Definition: have more important things to do, have other opportunities

Look. I have other fish to fry, so just say yes or no.
Susan had other fish to fry and left her position at the bank.

have someone or something in your hands

Definition: have the responsibility for someone or something

I have the project in my hands. If you have any questions, come to me.
She had her boyfriend in her hands. She could do anything.

have the Midas touch

Definition: have the ability to easily be successful

He'll succeed. He's got the Midas touch.
Ask her to approach those difficult clients. She has the Midas touch.

have the presence of mind to do something

Definition: stay calm in a dangerous or frightening, or emergency situation

He had the presence of mind to cover her up before he went to find help.
Alice has the presence of mind to take along some extra food before setting out on the hike.

There are so many expressions with 'have' that make sure you take a look at the first page. Once you have studied these expressions, test your knowledge with quiz testing idioms and expressions with have. There are so many expressions with 'have' that make sure you take a look at the second page. Once you have studied these expressions, test your knowledge with quiz testing idioms and expressions with have.

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