All these books may be had of any bookseller.

I came across the above sentence, which I discovered was taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, and thought that 'be had' would rarely or never be used.

Does the sentence look idiomatic?

  • 1
    If you can't provide the actual source, (ie the book that the dictionary is quoting) there isn't enough context. It looks old fashioned. but there may be a reason for that.
    – James K
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 10:03
  • 1
    You see a sentence, you say it's from a dictionary, why not tell us which dictionary you got it from? Why would you expect users to have to google? I don't know...
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 10:13
  • 2
    The OED's examples all seem to come from old advertisements. It looks like a traditional form of words which lasted a long time, but is now obsolete. Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


Using 'had of' in that way to mean 'bought or obtained from' is very old-fashioned, but not wrong.

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