in·​ves·​ti·​ture in-ˈve-stə-ˌchu̇r How to pronounce investiture (audio)
: the act of establishing in office or ratifying
: something that covers or adorns

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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 The presentation of related regalia, like medals, is distributed via investiture ceremonies throughout the year helmed by King Charles, Princess Anne or Prince William. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 11 July 2023 Since the coronation, edited clips of Prince William at an investiture ceremony, the announcement of Earthshot 2023's location, and Kate's surprise Eurovision appearance have also been posted—pointing to a new era of William and Kate as vloggers. Town & Country, 17 May 2023 The investiture King Charles will be presented with various regalia by peers from the House of Lords, and senior bishops in the Anglican Church. Town & Country, 7 May 2023 Charles will hold the orb in his right hand during the investiture phase of the coronation ceremony. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 5 May 2023 Another item given to the monarch during the investiture — after the anointing but before the crowning — these spurs were made for Charles II in 1661, with the straps replaced in 1820 for George IV. Patrick Smith, NBC News, 4 May 2023 Queen Elizabeth's three-hour coronation was divided into six parts: the recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture (including the crowning), the enthronement and the homage. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 14 Apr. 2023 The most sacred part of the coronation will involve the anointing of the king, which takes place before the investiture and crowning. Rachel Silva, ELLE Decor, 5 Apr. 2023 By the fall of the year of his investiture, Charles was voicing concern about what people were doing to the planet — an issue that would become an animating lifelong passion. Adela Suliman, Washington Post, 3 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'investiture.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near investiture

Cite this Entry

“Investiture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​ves·​ti·​ture in-ˈves-tə-ˌchu̇r How to pronounce investiture (audio)
: a person in an office, rank, or order
investiture of the prince
: the act of establishing

Legal Definition


in·​ves·​ti·​ture in-ˈves-tə-ˌchu̇r, -chər, -ˌtyu̇r How to pronounce investiture (audio)
: the act of establishing in office

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