vested interest


noun

a special interest in an existing system, arrangement, or institution for particular personal reasons.
a permanent right given to an employee under a pension plan.
vested interests, the persons, groups, etc., who benefit the most from existing business or financial systems.

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Origin of vested interest

First recorded in 1810–20
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

BEHIND THE PHRASE

What does vested interest mean?

A vested interest is a special interest in something due to a personal reason, especially the potential to benefit from the situation

If you didn’t study for a test and you ask your teacher to change the test date, you have a vested interest in their answer.

A vested interest is a personal stake, often tied to money or power, as in I have a vested interest in you winning this match—I bet a lot of money on you!

A company or organization can also have a vested interest, as in Tobacco companies have a vested interest in the prevention of any laws that would reduce smoking.

The plural vested interests is used to refer to those people or organizations that will benefit from a system, arrangement, or situation.

Example: As the owner of the company, Michelle had a vested interest in seeing it succeed.

Where does vested interest come from?

The first records of vested interest come from around the 1810s. In the phrase, the word vested means “secured” or “established.”

If you have a vested interest in a situation, you care very much about what happens—the situation has secured your interest.

Sometimes, a vested interest might create a conflict of interest—a situation in which someone stands to benefit personally by making a decision in their own interest instead of following their responsibility to act in the interest of others or the public.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for vested interest?

What are some words that share a root or word element with vested interest? 

What are some words that often get used in discussing vested interest?

How is vested interest used in real life?

Vested interest is often used in situations when someone has something to gain from someone else’s success or failure.

 

 

Try using vested interest!

Is vested interest used correctly in the following sentence?

The director wanted the film to be a success because he had a vested interest in it—professionally and financially.

British Dictionary definitions for vested interest

vested interest

noun

property law an existing and disposable right to the immediate or future possession and enjoyment of property
a strong personal concern in a state of affairs, system, etc, usually resulting in private gain
a person or group that has such an interest
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for vested interest

vested interest

A phrase that indicates a deep personal (and possibly financial) interest in some political or economic proposal: “As a major stockholder of the Ford Motor Company, Senator Bilge had a vested interest in legislation restricting the import of Japanese autos.” The plural, vested interests, often refers to powerful, wealthy property holders: “His radical policies enraged vested interests.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with vested interest

vested interest

A personal stake in something, as in She has a vested interest in keeping the house in her name. This term, first recorded in 1818, uses vested in the sense of “established” or “secured.”

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.