General English


  • verb to put money into shares, bonds, a building society, etc., hoping that it will produce interest and increase in value
  • verb to spend money on something which you believe will be useful

Information & Library Science

  • verb to put money, time or energy into something or somebody in the hope that it will produce more money or better results


  • verb to put money into something such as a bank or a company where it is expected to increase in value


  • verb to surround an area or town occupied by an enemy force, in order to prevent its being reinforced and resupplied and also to prevent any withdrawal, usually with the ultimate intention of capturing the place or of compelling the enemy force inside it to surrender


  • verb to put money into shares or a business, hoping that it will produce interest and increase in value

Origin & History of “invest”

The etymological notion underlying invest is of ‘putting on clothes’. It comes via Old French investir from Latin investīre, a compound verb formed from the prefix in- and vestis ‘clothes’ (source of English vest, vestment, travesty, etc). It retained that original literal sense ‘clothe’ in English for several centuries, but now it survives only in its metaphorical descendant ‘instal in an office’ (as originally performed by clothing in special garments). Its financial sense, first recorded in English in the early 17th century, is thought to have originated in Italian investire from the idea of dressing one’s capital up in different clothes by putting it into a particular business, stock, etc.