How Well Do You Know English Slang?
Old English habban "to own, possess; be subject to, experience," from Proto-Germanic *haben- (cf. Old Norse hafa, Old Saxon hebbjan, Old Frisian habba, German haben, Gothic haban "to have"), from PIE *kap- "to grasp" (see capable). Not related to Latin habere, despite similarity in form and sense; the Latin cognate is capere "seize." Old English second person singular present hæfst, third person singular present hæfð became Middle English hast, hath, while Old English -bb- became -v- in have. The past participle had developed from Old English gehæfd.
Sense of "possess, have at one's disposal" (I have a book) is a shift from older languages, where the thing possessed was made the subject and the possessor took the dative case (e.g. Latin est mihi liber "I have a book," literally "there is to me a book"). Used as an auxiliary in Old English, too (especially to form present perfect tense); the word has taken on more functions over time; Modern English he had better would have been Old English him (dative) wære betere. To have to for "must" (1570s) is from sense of "possess as a duty or thing to be done" (Old English). Phrase have a nice day as a salutation after a commercial transaction attested by 1970, American English. Phrase have (noun), will (verb) is from 1954, originally from comedian Bob Hope, in the form Have tux, will travel; Hope described this as typical of vaudevillians' ads in "Variety," indicating a willingness to perform anywhere, any time.
Old English beste, reduced by assimilation of -t- from earlier Old English betst "best, first, in the best manner," originally superlative of bot "remedy, reparation," the root word now only surviving in to boot (see boot (n.2)), though its comparative, better, and superlative, best, have been transferred to good (and in some cases well). From Proto-Germanic root *bat-, with comparative *batizon and superlative *batistaz (cf. Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Middle Dutch best, Old High German bezzist, German best, Old Norse beztr, Gothic batists).
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' menBest-seller as short for "best-selling book" is from 1902, apparently originally in the publishing trade; best friend was in Chaucer (late 14c.). Best girl is first attested 1881, American English; best man is 1814, originally Scottish, replacing groomsman. To be able to do something with the best of them is recorded by 1748.
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
"to get the better of," 1863, from best (adj.). Related: Bested; besting.
c.1200, from best (adj.).
Best (běst), Charles Herbert. 1899-1978.
American-born Canadian physiologist noted for the discovery and successful clinical application of insulin.
American-born Canadian physiologist who assisted Frederick Banting in the discovery of the hormone insulin. In acknowledgment of his work, Banting shared his portion of the 1923 Nobel Prize with Best. In addition to further refining the use of insulin, Best later discovered the vitamin choline and the enzyme histaminase, which breaks down histamine.