verb (used with object)

  1. to put (money) to use, by purchase or expenditure, in something offering potential profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.
  2. to use (money), as in accumulating something: to invest large sums in books.
  3. to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve something: He invested a lot of time in helping retarded children.
  4. to furnish with power, authority, rank, etc.: The Constitution invests the president with the power of veto.
  5. to furnish or endow with a power, right, etc.; vest: Feudalism invested the lords with absolute authority over their vassals.
  6. to endow with a quality or characteristic: to invest a friend with every virtue.
  7. to infuse or belong to, as a quality or characteristic: Goodness invests his every action.
  8. Metallurgy. to surround (a pattern) with an investment.
  9. to provide with the insignia of office.
  10. to install in an office or position.
  11. to clothe, attire, or dress.
  12. to cover, adorn, or envelop: Spring invests the trees with leaves.
  13. to surround (a place) with military forces or works so as to prevent approach or escape; besiege.

verb (used without object)

  1. to invest money; make an investment: to invest in oil stock.


  1. to put back profits from a previous investment into the same enterprise


  1. (often foll by in) to lay out (money or capital in an enterprise, esp by purchasing shares) with the expectation of profit
  2. (tr often foll by in) to devote (effort, resources, etc, to a project)
  3. (tr; often foll by in or with) mainly archaic to clothe or adorn (in some garment, esp the robes of an office)to invest a king in the insignia of an emperor
  4. (tr often foll by in) to install formally or ceremoniously (in an official position, rank, etc)
  5. (tr; foll by in or with) to place (power, authority, etc, in) or provide (with power or authority)to invest new rights in the monarchy
  6. (tr; usually passive; foll by in or with) to provide or endow (a person with qualities, characteristics, etc)he was invested with great common sense
  7. (tr foll by with) usually poetic to cover or adorn, as if with a coat or garmentwhen spring invests the trees with leaves
  8. (tr) rare to surround with military forces; besiege
  9. (intr foll by in) informal to purchase; buy

1610s, of money 1848, also re-invest, 1610s of vestments, etc.; 1848 of money; from re- + invest. Related: Reinvested; reinvesting.


late 14c., “to clothe in the official robes of an office,” from Latin investire “to clothe in, cover, surround,” from in “in, into” (see in- (2)) + vestire “to dress, clothe” (see wear). The meaning “use money to produce profit” first attested 1610s in connection with the East Indies trade, and is probably a borrowing of Italian investire (13c.) from the same Latin root, via the notion of giving one’s capital a new form. The military meaning “to besiege” is from c.1600. Related: Invested; investing.

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