In a book I'm reading a character says "One day I will have you, de Vienne.", refering to her master, who she doesn't like. What does it mean, exactly? I guess it's something like "I will kill you someday", which is possible because they fight with swords. Thank you!

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    Welcome to ELL.SE. Please provide the full context: which book? What is the surrounding text? In a swordfight it could mean put in a disadvantageous position, but whether that simply means to humiliate or to kill is unclear. If the heroine is not speaking about the fight but about their relationship over a longer history, it could mean to host, to fool, to conquer sexually, or a dozen other things.
    – choster
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 14:49
  • I think you need to give us a link to the full text. In current spoken BrE slang, "I'll have you" can be used to mean "I'll get you" (i.e. - at some point in the future I will punish you in some way). But I suspect your example might be quite early (or it's in a "historical novel" context intending to use archaic language), so that sense may not apply. Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 14:49
  • We need more context. "I will kill you someday" sounds like it could be valid interpretation, depending on what the context is, but there could be other interpretations too. Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 14:53
  • The context is: "She cursed her Paladin captain for giving this mission to her. She understood its importance but she knew the real reason why de Vienne had chosen her. Captain de Vienne wanted her out of the way. ‘One day I will have you, de Vienne,’ Dominica cursed under her breath" It's a fiction book, Timesmith. The two characters mentioned are Paladins, they are like knights. They are not face to face right now and they have never fought with each other. De Vienne sent Dominica in a mission, and she is completing it.
    – Giovanna
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 15:06
  • @ Giovanna: The overall flavour of the language is "archaic". I can't say for sure, but I rather doubt the usage choster & I have presented was idiomatic in the time context of the book (or "would be idiomatic", if we assume it's a fantasy rather than a history context). So my guess is the author is just mixing up current usage and credible past usage, and even though it's effectively an "error", the author meant "I will have my revenge on you" (or "...have victory over you", or whatever). Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


In the context of musing over or taunting an opponent, "I will have you" would imply that the opponent has, to this point in time, eluded or defeated the speaker. The speaker is indicating that they will make efforts to be victorious in the future and depending on the context this could be a direct taunt to the opponent or an internal, personal musing by the speaker.

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