I was replying to somebody who said to be going to eat something and rest, and said "Have a good one." I was not understood, and asked what I meant by that.

Isn't "have a good one" used instead of "have a good afternoon" or "have a good evening"? Even if that is not the standard meaning, should not the phrase be understood as "have a good eat" or "have a good rest" at least in the context I used it?

  • 1
    I think this phrase might be used primarily in the U.S. and Canada. Were you talking to someone who lives somewhere else, by any chance?
    – user230
    Jun 18 '13 at 9:03
  • I was talking to somebody who lives in the USA.
    – apaderno
    Jun 18 '13 at 10:25
  • 2
    Interesting! I would've expected all AmE speakers to understand this phrase. (I've definitely met people who dislike it for one reason or another, though.)
    – user230
    Jun 18 '13 at 10:33
  • It could be that the person to which I said that didn't like the phrase, but the reply has been "a good one of what???"
    – apaderno
    Jun 18 '13 at 10:52
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    kiamlaluno, that's quite odd; I'm with snailplane that this should be commonly understood in the US. You should feel free to keep using it, just maybe not with that particular person ;)
    – WendiKidd
    Jun 18 '13 at 16:20

It's context-dependent. When used as a farewell, it's usually interpreted to mean, "Have a good day," or, "Have a good evening," or (on Fridays), "Have a good weekend."

It could also be used in this context:

Do you want to get together on Saturday?
No, Saturday is my birthday, and my husband is taking me out.
Oh! Well, have a good one.

In that case, "Have a good one," could mean mean, "Have a good time," or, "Have a good birthday," or, "I hope you have a nice date." There's a decent chance it means a little bit of all three.

If I told you, "I'm going to grab something to eat, and then I'm going to lay down and rest," and you said, "Have a good one," I'd assume you meant, "Have a nice rest," or, "Have a good nap." I'd regard it as simple well-wishing. It may be informal speech, but I wouldn't press you for an explanation. I'd probably just say, "Thanks," or maybe, "Thanks, I will."


This phrase is a greeting and basically means "goodbye".

There is an entry for it in The Free Dictionary (which groups it with "Have a nice day" and similar phrases), where it is defined thus:

Cliché an expression said when parting or saying good-bye.

It can be confusing because in many cases it doesn't make sense when taken literally (see this article, for example).

  • 3
    I think the author is grousing, and, if he's truly confused when someone tells him, "Have a good one," he's parsing his language too finely. I'd downvote his column, but I'll upvote your answer, because, even if I disagree with Mr. Keith's take, it's still pertinent to this discussion, so it's a nice piece of research on your part.
    – J.R.
    Jun 18 '13 at 10:12

It depends how it is said. Tone. What was said before it. Take into account who you are talking to. Where you are. The history with certain people or groups of people. All races and Creed's. How often it is said. Whether or not you would say it. Since there are many variables at play, including body language. Many times it is meant as a ordinary goodbye. However, if in the wrong scenario, it can bother you. Sometimes, this can be picked up on. Almost used as a way to say f-off by some. All-in-all, I don't like the phrase. I also don't say it. I also try not to respond. I usually say thanks and leave. Sometimes, I just leave.

  • Please provide evidence, like dictionary entries, or specific examples to help learners understand the usage, especially when answering old questions with well-received and accepted answers. - From Review
    – Em.
    Sep 24 '16 at 2:49

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