late 14c., "to clothe in the official robes of an office," from Latin investire "to clothe in, cover, surround," from in "in, into" (from PIE root *en "in") + vestire "to dress, clothe," from PIE *wes- (2) "to clothe," extended form of root *eu- "to dress."
The meaning "use money to produce profit" first attested 1610s in connection with the East Indies trade, and is probably a borrowing of a special use of Italian investire (13c.) from the same Latin root, via the notion of giving one's capital a new form. Figurative sense of "to clothe (with attributes)" is from c. 1600. The military meaning "to besiege, surround with hostile intent" also is from c. 1600. Related: Invested; investing.
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