1590s, "act of putting on vestments" (a sense now found in investiture); later "act of being invested with an office, right, endowment, etc." (1640s); and "surrounding and besieging" of a military target (1811); from invest + -ment.
Commercial sense of "an investing of money or capital" is from 1610s, originally in reference to the East India Company; general use is from 1740 in the sense of "conversion of money to property in hopes of profit," and by 1837 in the sense "amount of money invested." For evolution of the commercial senses, see invest.
investment scam by which early investors are paid off from the contributions of later ones, 1957, in reference to Charles Ponzi (1882-1949), who perpetrated such a scheme in the U.S. 1919-20.
"U.S. financial world," 1836, from street in New York City that is home to many investment firms and stock traders, as well as NYSE. The street so called because it ran along the interior of the defensive wall of the old Dutch colonial town.
"purse-like tegumentary investment of the testes and part of the spermatic cord; the cod" [Century Dictionary], 1590s, from Latin scrotum, which probably is transposed from scortum "a skin, hide" (see corium), perhaps by influence of scrautum "leather quiver for arrows." Related: Scrotal.
"one who has a fixed income from investment" (in land, stocks, etc.), 1847, from French rentier, "holder of rental properties or investments that pay income," from rente "profit, income" (see rent (n.1), the old, broader sense of which survives in this).
amount of money one makes (from labor or investment), 1732, from plural of verbal noun earning, from earn (v.). Old English had earnung in sense "fact of deserving; what one deserves; merit, reward, consideration, pay," but the modern word seems to be a new formation.