Have a Crush – Meaning, Origin and Usage

The phrase 'have a crush' is a common saying in the English language that refers to romantically liking (or 'crushing on') another person. It can make no sense to someone who has never heard the saying before. This post unpacks the meaning, origin, and common use of the expression.


The saying 'have a crush' is a common English saying that is used to mean that one person has a liking for another.

The most common uses of the phrase include to say that someone 'has a crush', or that you 'have a crush' on someone.

The phrase can have serious meaning, but can also be used as a sarcastic phrase or a joke. The context of 'have a crush' can usually be either stated outright, or implied by the rest of what is being said.

The phrase is considered colloquial.

The phase can be used as a direct reference when speaking to someone, but might also be used either as a response or when speaking about someone.

A similar phrase to 'have a crush' is to say that one 'has a liking [for someone]'.

The phrase can be used in the denial form for the opposite meaning: 'I don't have a crush'.

Example Usage

“Do you have a crush on one of your students? You have no idea just how much trouble that can get you in at Hogwarts.”

“I can honestly say that I don't have a crush on him: he has weird eyes and he lives with his mother. What about that says that it's a good long-term plan?”

“If you have a crush on someone, it's probably just better to say absolutely nothing about it and just throw hints at them for the next twenty years until one or both of you dies alone.”

“I think he has a crush on you. He's bought you three stuffed animals and fourteen Amazon vouchers, and someone doesn't just do that for someone he doesn't like a whole lot.”


According to online language resources like Etymonline.com, the word 'crush' was first used in the late 1500s and later spread to common English use to mean that something is violently brought together.

Use of the phrase 'to have a crush' would later evolve from the original meaning of the word crush, which could be derived from the fact that thngs which are 'crushed' are brought together in a sudden way as someone who 'has a [figurative] crush' would like.

Other resources claim that the first use of the phrase 'crush' in a romantic sense was first used in the late 1800s by Isabella Rittenhouse.

Romance novels of the 1900s would pick up on the phrase 'have a crush' and its use would continue throughout fiction and regular speech throughout modern times.

Phrases Similar to Have a Crush

  • Have a liking

Phrases Opposite to Have a Crush

  • Have a dislike

What is the Correct Saying?

  • [to] have a crush
  • have a crush [on someone]

Ways People May Say Have a Crush Incorrectly

There are several ways in which someone can use the phrase 'have a crush' in the wrong way, or misunderstand the meaning of the phrase.

Someone cannot 'have a crushes' on someone, though this is a common misinterpretation of how to say the phrase – often by speakers who are not familiar with its regular use.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Have a Crush

The correct way to use the phrase 'have a crush' is to use the phrase to imply or say that one person has a romantic liking for another.

The phrase can be used in any tense, with adaptation, and can also be used in the negative form to say that someone 'does not' have a crush on another person.

A speaker can also use the phrase in the present tense, to say that they are 'crushing [on someone] although this is less common than to 'have a crush'.

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