Which definition at http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/vest_2 applies to http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vested%20interest? I want to dredge below this term, and ask not about the Merriam Webster dictionary that I already apprehend.

1 Answer 1


The phrase vested interest has a different meaning in common usage than the individual words. Definition of vested interest noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary: "a personal reason for wanting something to happen, especially because you get some advantage from it". For example, "She has a vested interest in the proposed ban on plastic bags because she owns a business that sells canvas shopping bags."

The meaning probably evolved from the legal definition "A right or title, as to present or future possession of an estate, that can be conveyed to another." If you held a vested interest in a property, you would have a personal interest in increasing or maintaining the value of the property, so that your title to it is valuable.

  • Sounds a lot like being invested in something, no? I think the common meaning of vested is the same, not different from, the use of vested in vested interest. When you vest in a company you become involved with it, part of it. You have a vested interest in it.
    – Drew
    Sep 16, 2014 at 2:10
  • The meanings are similar, but different unless you are talking specifically about the legal definition. There is a reason that dictionaries like OALD list "vested interest" as a phrase distinct from vest or invest, and that you will only find "vested right" defined in legal dictionaries. As a phrase, "vested interest" has come to mean more than the sum of its parts.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 16, 2014 at 3:29

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