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  • Subject

    Have at it!

    [sl.][Amer.]
    Sources
    Context/ examples
    Comment
    might be the same as "Have a got at it" = Versuch's doch mal (?)
    Authorpluckerwank04 Nov 06, 18:04
    Suggestiongo for it
    Context/ examples
    have at it (to a dog,for example) = attack
    I think in the case here it means the same as GO FOR IT

    Comment
    could mean various things, depending on context
    #1Authormanja (248376) 04 Nov 06, 18:08
    Comment
    @pluckerwank: it's "Have a GO at it", not have a goT at it... might have been a typo on your part, but I just wanted to make sure you knew that ;-)
    #2AuthorJ_A (239922) 04 Nov 06, 19:03
    Suggestionsich in etwas verbeißen
    Sources
    I saw that definition from "getting stuck into" something. I also think of it as somehow attacking something, not holding back, going all in. Sometimes in the context of food, sometimes the context of motivating someone for a difficult, exciting task. Definitely slang, but also in at least my British English, not just American.

    "You didn't finish your steak - is it up for grabs?"
    "Have at it mate"

    "I gotta finish this essay for next week, I never did something on this topic before"
    "Have at it, you'll do great"
    #3AuthorRichard_23 (1333368)  07 Sep 22, 02:27
    Comment

    Have at it!


    I've never heard that – is it perhaps specifically British or American?

    #4Author Stravinsky (637051) 07 Sep 22, 07:48
    Comment
    #5Author B.L.Z. Bubb (601295) 07 Sep 22, 08:37
    Comment

    I know the expression in the sense of „knock yourself out.”

    E.g., person A is trying to open a recalcitrant jam jar; person B says, “can I try?”, and person A replies: “Sure, have at it.” Meaning, “nur zu, tob dich aus.”

    (@ #4: I'm most familiar with Canadian English.)

    #6Authorredcranes (766941)  07 Sep 22, 13:20
    Sources

    have at: to go at or deal with ATTACK

    like two boxers having at each other


    have at you

    (dated) An exclamation indicating that one is about to strike the person addressed, typically with a sword or other hand-held weapon.

    [quotations ]

    -Dark and sinister man, have at thee. Barrie JM (1904), Peter Pan.


    have at (someone or something)

    1. To strike or attack someone or something.

    The two boys had at each other until the teacher arrived to break up the fight.

    2. To attempt or try to do something.

    Now that finals are over, I need to have at cleaning up my room.

    3. To do something with energy and enthusiasm.

    It didn't take long for the kids to have at the cupcakes I'd set out.

    If you want to paint, have at it! All the supplies are still out.



    Shakespeare:

    • "Have at you now!" — Hamlet
    • "Have at you with a proverb [...] Have at you with another;" — Comedy of Errors
    • "Have at you!" — Henry VIII
    • "Have at you, then, affection's men at arms." — Love's Labour's Lost
    • "Then have at you with my wit!" — Romeo and Juliet
    • "since you have begun, / Have at you for a bitter jest or two." — Taming of the Shrew
    • "Come, both you cogging Greeks; have at you both!" — Troilus and Cressida.


    Comment

    #4 - To my knowledge, neither specifically American or specifically British. Maybe a little dated though. The original sense seems to have been "attack", particularly to initiate an attack, e.g. "Have at you, knave!" or "Have at 'em, men!"


    The senses "to make an attempt" and "to do with energy and enthusiasm" are probably later derivatives.

    #8Author covellite (520987) 08 Sep 22, 09:47
     
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