Word Confusion: Invested versus Vested

Posted July 10, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

This particular confusion was raised in a listserve I belong to, and it intrigued me. In a more corporate environment, one hears about being vested in term of one’s pension or holding stock in the company. When it comes to a wedding ceremony, the power vested in me seems to be an essential part of the celebration.

Using invested AND vested as verbs to convey being dressed with or in a vest was a curiosity, although I suppose one could more closely differentiate between the two even here using each word’s history, with invested being a more formal way of clothing someone in authority whereas vested is more literal with getting dressed.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Invested Vested
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“E-ticker” is klip game’s own work and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

When invested, you want to keep an eye on those investments.

“Archbishop Rowan Williams conducting the wedding ceremony of Kate Middleton and Prince William” courtesy of the Daily Mail

The archbishop is vested in his robes of office.

Part of Grammar:
Past tense or past participle for invest

Verb, intransitive & transitive

Third person present verb: invests
Gerund or present participle: investing

Past tense or past participle for vest

Adjective; Noun 3;
Verb 2, intransitive & transitive

Third person present verb: vests
Gerund or Present participle: vesting

More of a physical action and usually refers to an expenditure of money, resources, or time in an enterprise with the expectation of generating a profit

Verb, intransitive: 1
Expend money with the expectation of achieving a profit or material result by putting it into financial schemes, shares, or property, or by using it to develop a commercial venture

[Invest in; informal] Buy something whose usefulness will repay the cost

Verb, transitive:
Devote one’s time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result

[Invest someone/something with] Provide or endow someone or something with a particular quality or attribute

Endow someone with a rank or office

[Invest something in] Establish a right or power in

[Archaic] Clothe or cover with a garment

[Archaic] Surround a place in order to besiege or blockade it

More of a concept…

Secured in the possession of or assigned to a person

Protected or established by law or contract

[Of a person] Legally entitled to a future benefit, as from a pension

Supplied or worn with a vest

Wearing vestments

[U.S. & Australian] A sleeveless, close-fitting waist-length garment worn over a shirt, typically having no collar and buttoning down the front

A garment worn on the upper part of the body for a particular purpose or activity

[British] An undershirt, typically one without sleeves

  • [Also vest top] A woman’s sleeveless top

Verb, intransitive:
[Vest in] Come into the possession of of power, property, etc.

[Of a chorister or member of the clergy] Put on vestments

Verb, transitive:
[Usu. be vested in] Confer or bestow power, authority, property, etc. on someone

[Usu. be vested with] Give someone the legal right to power, property, etc.

[Poetic/literary] Dress someone

Verb, intransitive:
Getting workers to invest in private pension funds.

Verb, transitive:
The company is to invest $12 million in its new manufacturing site.

Politicians who have invested so much time in the Constitution would be crestfallen.

The passage of time has invested the words with an unintended humor.

He stands before you invested in the full canonicals of his calling.

Fort Pulaski was invested and captured.

A state law vested the ownership of all wild birds to the individual counties.

Parental rights are then vested by section 14 of the 1975 Act.

He was completely vested after five years with the company.

Businessmen wear three-piece pin-striped suits with vests and neckties.

Janey likes to wear a running vest to hold her keys and emergency money.

I can see where a bulletproof vest could come in handy.

She stepped out in a striped vest and skinny jeans with strappy black heels.

Kim looked chic in her pink jeans and white vest top.

Verb, intransitive:
The bankrupt’s property vests in his trustee.

Verb, transitive:
Executive power is vested in the president.

With the power that has been vested in me…

The socialists came to be vested with the power of legislation.

The Speaker vested him with a rich purple robe.

Adjective: investable, investible
Noun: investment, investor, noninvestor
Verb, transitive: overinvest, preinvest, reinvest
Adjective: vestless, vestlike
History of the Word:
Mid-16th century, in the sense of clothe, clothe with the insignia of a rank, and endow with authority is from the French investir, which is from the Latin investire from in- (into, upon) + vestire (clothe) from vestis meaning clothing.

1 Early 17th century and influenced by Italian investire.

2 Late Middle English from the Old French vestu for clothed. It’s a past participle of vestir from the Latin vestire.

3 Early 17th century, denoting a loose outer garment from the French veste, via Italian from the Latin vestis meaning garment.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Man in Gray Vest” by Pacian~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims) and under the GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0 licenses and “Old Greek Money” by Jon Eben Field (originally posted to Flickr as Greece-22) is under the CC BY 2.0 license; both via Wikimedia Commons.