What does investment mean?

The word "investment" really does apply to the fabulous designer outfit your friend bought.

  videos Hot for words


Marina Orlova of Hot for Words: Hello my dear students! How many times have you heard a friend justify buying a super-expensive coat or fabulous designer outfit by calling them an "investment," or saying she's "investing in herself"? Laugh all you want, but it might surprise you to know that she's using the word "investment" in the most accurate historical sense!

In old Latin, they combined the word "in" (which means into), with the word "vestire" (which meant "to dress or clothe") to form the word "investire." So the word "investire" meant "to put on the official clothes of a title or office." In other words, you were putting on the ceremonial robes that indicated you had a very important role in society.

It wasn't long before people started borrowing "investire" and using it in a commercial sense. Around 1610, East Indies traders started using the word to mean converting money to property in the hope of making a profit. Over time, the word became "invest," or "investment" in English, and by 1740 was a common part of financial language.

So you see, when you put clothes on you change your form. You look better, and people perceive you as more important. Likewise, when you invest in a company, you make the company look better and more important. So whether it's beautiful designer handbags or a retirement fund, why don't you go ahead and make an investment today?



Latest Videos


Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us

Learn the latest trends that will help grow your portfolio, plus tips on investing strategies. Delivered weekly.

CDs and Investment

Can heirs cash an old trust?

Dear Dr. Don, The youngest of 6 children, I am 48 years old. My father joined the Navy at 22. In Italy, he met his bride and my mother, and returned to the U.S. to raise our family. In 1959, he bought a trust certificate... Read more



Dr Don Taylor

Recognizing a loss to boost your yield

In taxable accounts, your capital losses can be used to offset your net long-term capital gains.  ... Read more

Partner Center

Connect with us