in·​ves·​ti·​ture | \in-ˈve-stə-ˌchu̇r, -chər, -ˌtyu̇r, -ˌtu̇r\

Definition of investiture 

1 : the act of establishing in office or ratifying

2 : something that covers or adorns

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Did You Know?

In its original meaning, an investiture was the clothing of a new officeholder in garments that symbolized power. The Middle Ages saw much debate over the investiture of bishops by kings and emperors. These rulers felt that high religious offices were theirs to give as rewards for someone's loyal service or as bribes for someone's future support; the popes, on the other hand, regarded these investitures as the improper buying and selling of church offices. The investiture struggle caused tension between popes and monarchs and even led to wars.

Examples of investiture in a Sentence

the investiture of the Prince of Wales the investiture of a new member of parliament

Recent Examples on the Web

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, fourth from the right, and other justices pose Thursday along with President Trump and first lady Melania Trump prior to Justice Kavanaugh’s investiture ceremony in Washington. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Hospitalized After Fall," 8 Nov. 2018 On Thursday, the president and first lady were present at his formal investiture ceremony, during which Kavanaugh sat in a special mahogany chair once used by Chief Justice John Marshall. Anna North, Vox, "Christine Blasey Ford has a security detail because she still receives threats," 8 Nov. 2018 Spanish courts blocked three previous candidates from being considered during investiture votes. Washington Post, "Pro-secession parties losing time to pick Catalonia’s leader," 14 May 2018 During Monday’s investiture debate, Torra made clear his subservience to ex-Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who is fighting extradition from Germany. Washington Post, "Fervent secessionist picked as Catalonia’s stand-in leader," 15 May 2018 Four days ago, Barbara and Joe Auteri got married; between preparing for her own investiture Barbara has been helping Joe in and out of his Hugh de Payns outfit. Kristina Krug, Smithsonian, "Meet the Americans Following in the Footsteps of the Knights Templar," 28 June 2018 Torra spoke with defiance to Spanish authorities during his investiture speech Saturday, promising to continue the push for secession. Washington Post, "Pro-secession parties losing time to pick Catalonia’s leader," 14 May 2018 The awards will be given out by Queen Elizabeth II or a senior royal acting in her place during investitures at Buckingham Palace. Fox News, "Queen Elizabeth II to honor Emma Thompson, Tom Hardy and Keira Knightley at Buckingham Palace," 9 June 2018 The awards will be given out by the queen or a senior royal acting in her place during investitures at Buckingham Palace later this summer. Gregory Katz, USA TODAY, "Queen's honors go to Emma Thompson, Tom Hardy, Keira Knightley," 8 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'investiture.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of investiture

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for investiture

Middle English, from Medieval Latin investitura, from investitus, past participle of investire

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Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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The first known use of investiture was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of investiture

: a formal ceremony at which someone is placed in an office or given an official rank


in·​ves·​ti·​ture | \in-ˈves-tə-ˌchu̇r, -chər, -ˌtyu̇r \

Legal Definition of investiture 

1 : the act of establishing in office

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to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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