- investment (n.) 1590s, "act of putting on vestments" (a sense now found in INVESTITURE (Cf. investiture)); later "act of being invested with an office, right, endowment, etc." (1640s); and "surrounding and besieging of a military target" (1811); see INVEST (Cf. invest) + -MENT (Cf. -ment). Commercial sense is from 1610s, originally of the finances of 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 so invested; property viewed as a vehicle for profit." For evolution of commercial senses, see INVEST (Cf. invest).
Etymology dictionary. 2014.
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