Quelles notions sémantiques sous-tendent "to put in possession of a person" avec "to clothe; get dressed" ? Ces notions ne se lient pas externement !

vest (v.)

early 15c., "to put in possession of a person," from Old French vestir "to clothe; get dressed," from Medieval Latin vestire "to put into possession, to invest," from Latin vestire "to clothe, dress, adorn," related to vestis "garment, clothing," from PIE *wes-ti-, suffixed form of *wes- (2) "to clothe," extended form of root *eu- "to dress."

CNRTL ne soulève pas ce sens de "to put in possession of a person".

Étymol. et Hist. 1. Ca 950 « mettre sur soi » (Jonas, éd. G. de Poerck, 86: vestirent cieˑhaires); 2. fin xes. « couvrir de vêtements ou d'un vêtement particulier » (Passion, éd. D'Arco Silvio Avalle, 245: De purpure donc lo vestirent; 254: li vestent son vestement); ca 1145 pronom. réfl. (Wace, Conception Nostre-Dame, éd. W. R. Ashford, 438); 3. ca 1210 « munir (quelqu'un) de vêtements » (Guillaume le Clerc, Le Bestiaire divin, éd. R. Reinsch, 1784: Quant nu e povre me veïstes, Donc me pëustes e vestistes). Du lat. vestire « couvrir d'un vêtement; revêtir ».

  • The modern English sense of to vest or be vested (as in stock options when you work for a company, for example) comes from French but is not a meaning of the French term vêtir. Many times when words go from one language to another, they are not used in the target language in the same way as the source language.
    – Lambie
    Jan 27, 2022 at 15:30
  • @Lambie thanks. can you pls elaborate? where does this "English sense of to vest or be vested (as in stock options when you work for a company, for example)" spring from? how does it appertain to VESTS (CLOTHING)?
    – user29865
    Jan 27, 2022 at 17:27
  • I cannot teach you here how these things evolve in this space. a vest as in a piece of clothing, is not what I'm talking about. I'm taking about stock options vesting which can be droits acquis or acquérir des droits in French. The clothing thing is pretty obvious by the way (vestir), une veste= a jacket//un gilet=a vest
    – Lambie
    Jan 27, 2022 at 17:42
  • This will help you here: merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/invest-word-history Interestingly, the French language split these meanings of invest into two words; the financial meanings became the verb investir and the noun investissement, while the word for “garments” became vêtements.
    – Lambie
    Jan 27, 2022 at 17:44

1 Answer 1


Vêtir does not have the meaning of "to put in possession of a person" in Modern French, that's why you did not find that meaning in the TLF. But you could have found it in the DMF.

The primary meaning of vestir (vêtir) is mettre des vêtements sur soi, couvrir. It was only in Old French and Classical French that vestir took on other meanings besides habiller/couvrir, these other meanings completely disappeared in the 18th c. In the Chanson de Roland (1080) the word was used in the passive to mean être investi, and in the 15th c. se vêtir de/se saisir de meant "to take possession of". It was still used in the 18th c. to mean mettre (qqn) en possession de (qch) (to bring (sb) into possession of (sth)).

Cotgrave (1611) gives both meanings for vestir: "to clothe" and "to vest"/"to invest".

As early as the 13th c. French used the word (envestir), to mean mettre en possession, so for some time vestir and envestir were used with the same meaning until vêtir completely lost that meaning and investir took it on entirely. English has kept both "vest" and "invest" (with different meanings though) where Modern French only uses investir.

  • thanks. can you pls elaborate? can you connect the sense of VEST (CLOTHING) to "to take possession of" and "to bring (sb) into possession of (sth)"? how do VESTS (CLOTHING) appertain to "to take possession of" and "to bring (sb) into possession of (sth)"?
    – user29865
    Jan 27, 2022 at 17:28
  • The piece of clothing (veste, Eng."jacket") does not come from vestir, it was introduced in French in the 16th c. via the Italian veste, but this out of the scope of your question. ¶ The Dictionnaire historique de la langue française (ed. by Alain Rey), the ultimate on French etymology, does not specify how vestir could also have the meaning of "to bring (sb) into possession of (sth)", the information probably hasn't come to us. Each and everyone can have their own idea, I have mine but I am not a scientific authority. If you cover s.o. with sth., then this sth. belongs to them.
    – None
    Jan 27, 2022 at 20:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.