I recently encountered the phrase "have at you".
I know it's generally used as an exclamation, that is shouted when someone is about to attack someone else.
Wiktionary seems to agree with me:
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.
-Dark and sinister man, have at thee. Barrie JM (1904), Peter Pan.
And it got me thinking....
What does the phrase actually mean? Who or what is being "had"?
Acccording to RegDwighт, As well as being used by J.M. Barrie, "Have at you" is also used in 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.
So where on earth did this phrase come from?