1. held completely, permanently, and inalienably: vested rights.
  2. protected or established by law, commitment, tradition, ownership, etc.: vested contributions to a fund.
  3. clothed or robed, especially in ecclesiastical vestments: a vested priest.
  4. having a vest; sold with a vest: a vested suit.


  1. a close-fitting, waist-length, sleeveless garment that buttons down the front, designed to be worn under a jacket.
  2. a part or trimming simulating the front of such a garment; vestee.Compare dickey1(def 1).
  3. a waist-length garment worn for protective purposes: a bulletproof vest.
  4. a sleeveless, waist- or hip-length garment made of various materials, with a front opening usually secured by buttons, a zipper, or the like, worn over a shirt, blouse, dress, or other article for style or warmth: a sweater vest; a down vest.
  5. British. an undervest or undershirt.
  6. a long garment resembling a cassock, worn by men in the time of Charles II.
  7. Archaic.
    1. dress; apparel.
    2. an outer garment, robe, or gown.
    3. an ecclesiastical vestment.

verb (used with object)

  1. to clothe; dress; robe.
  2. to dress in ecclesiastical vestments: to vest a bishop.
  3. to cover or drape (an altar).
  4. to place or settle (something, especially property, rights, powers, etc.) in the possession or control of someone (usually followed by in): to vest authority in a new official.
  5. to invest or endow (a person, group, committee, etc.) with something, as powers, functions, or rights: to vest the board with power to increase production; to vest an employee with full benefits in the pension plan.

verb (used without object)

  1. to put on vestments.
  2. to become vested in a person, as a right.
  3. to devolve upon a person as possessor; pass into possession or ownership.
  1. play it close to the vest, Informal. to avoid taking unnecessary risks.


  1. property law having a present right to the immediate or future possession and enjoyment of propertyCompare contingent


  1. an undergarment covering the body from the shoulders to the hips, made of cotton, nylon, etcUS and Canadian equivalent: T-shirt, undershirt Austral equivalent: singlet
  2. a similar sleeveless garment worn as outerwearAustral equivalent: singlet
  3. US, Canadian and Australian a man’s sleeveless waistlength garment worn under a suit jacket, usually buttoning up the frontAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): waistcoat
  4. obsolete any form of dress, esp a long robe


  1. (tr foll by in) to place or settle (power, rights, etc, in)power was vested in the committee
  2. (tr foll by with) to bestow or confer (on)the company was vested with authority
  3. (usually foll by in) to confer (a right, title, property, etc, upon) or (of a right, title, etc) to pass (to) or devolve (upon)
  4. (tr) to clothe or array
  5. (intr) to put on clothes, ecclesiastical vestments, etc

“established, secured, settled,” 1766, past participle adjective from vest (v.).


1610s, “loose outer garment” (worn by men in Eastern countries or in ancient times), from French veste, from Italian vesta, veste “robe, gown,” from Latin vestis, from vestire “to clothe” (see vest (v.)). The sleeveless garment worn by men beneath the coat was introduced by Charles II.

The King hath yesterday, in Council, declared his resolution of setting a fashion for clothes …. It will be a vest, I know not well how; but it is to teach the nobility thrift. [Pepys, “Diary,” Oct. 8, 1666]


early 15c., “to put in possession of a person,” from Middle French vestir, from Medieval Latin vestire “to put into possession, to invest,” from Latin vestire “to clothe,” related to vestis “garment, clothing,” from PIE *wes- “to clothe” (see wear). Related: Vested; vesting.

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