capitalize

verb
cap·​i·​tal·​ize | \ ˈka-pə-tə-ˌlīz How to pronounce capitalize (audio) , ˈkap-tə-\
capitalized; capitalizing

Definition of capitalize

transitive verb

1 : to write or print with an initial capital or in capitals Capitalize the names of cities and states.
2a : to convert into capital capitalize the company's reserve fund
b : to treat as an amortizable investment in long-term capital assets rather than as an ordinary operating expense to be charged against revenue for the period in which it is incurred capitalize development costs
3a : to compute the present value of (an income extended over a period of time)
b : to convert (a periodic payment) into an equivalent capital sum capitalized annuities
4 : to supply capital for

intransitive verb

: to gain by turning something to advantage capitalize on an opponent's mistake

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Synonyms & Antonyms for capitalize

Synonyms

bankroll, endow, finance, fund, stake, subsidize, underwrite

Antonyms

defund

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Examples of capitalize in a Sentence

Remember to capitalize the I in Internet. Capitalize the first word of your sentence. She rarely capitalizes her name when she signs her e-mails. The venture was capitalized with a loan of one million dollars. You can capitalize your investment at any time.
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Recent Examples on the Web

For the past several years, many Super Bowl advertisers have released their commercials online days or even weeks in advance, hoping to capitalize on the extra exposure and attention. Suzanne Vranica, WSJ, "Shhh! The Surprise Super Bowl Ad Is Back in Vogue," 1 Feb. 2019 In 2017, the model received backlash for starring in a tone-deaf Pepsi commercial that capitalized on protest movements to sell soda. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kendall Jenner Announced She is the New Face of Proactiv, and The Internet Is Unamused," 7 Jan. 2019 To many, the costume was a gross way to capitalize on what has become a symbol of women's rights and protest. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Praise Be: This Sexy Handmaid's Tale Costume Got Pulled After Backlash," 21 Sep. 2018 In the eastern province city of Al Khobar, Seham al-Amri, 39, is one of a significant number of Saudi women who have capitalized on the changes to make a better life. Margaret Coker, New York Times, "Saudi Women Can Drive, but Here’s the Real Roadblock," 22 June 2018 While the click-to-shop tag has long been available within Instagram’s feed, the transition to Stories is a way for big brands to capitalize on the many viewers on their Stories each day. Carson Kessler, Fortune, "Instagram Stories Get Shopping Tag Links for In-App Purchases," 13 June 2018 In a statement, CEO Greg Garland said the expansion will better position the facility to capitalize on booming production in the Permian Basin in West Texas. Katherine Blunt, Houston Chronicle, "Phillips 66 to launch $1.5 billion expansion of Sweeny hub," 13 June 2018 Hard-liners opposed the nuclear deal from the start, saying the US could not be trusted, and have, ever since Trump’s decision, tried to capitalize on their I-told-you-so moment. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Iran protests: why Rouhani's foes are backing off their hard line," 2 July 2018 Instincts provide vital information related to both capitalizing on strengths and shoring up any areas that are lacking. Elisabeth Akinwale, SELF, "Here's What Competing in the CrossFit Games Teaches You About Real Life," 18 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'capitalize.' 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 capitalize

1764, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for capitalize

see capital entry 2

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Last Updated

6 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for capitalize

The first known use of capitalize was in 1764

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More Definitions for capitalize

capitalize

verb

Financial Definition of capitalize

What It Is

Capitalizing refers to the accounting practice of characterizing the costs of an asset purchase as a long-term asset on the balance sheet instead of an expense on the income statement.

How It Works

Companies capitalize the cost of asset purchases in order to spread out the cost of the assets over many reporting periods. This way, net income is not affected disproportionately in the reporting period in which the asset was purchased.

Rather than being listed as one large expense in one reporting period, a capitalized asset cost will be expensed via depreciation over many reporting periods. On the balance sheet, it will appear as a long-term asset and cash debit. The income statement will also account for a portion of the asset's cost via depreciation expenses.

To illustrate, suppose Company XYZ purchases equipment for $10,000. Rather than report the full $10,000 cost in that period, the company characterizes the purchase as a $10,000 long-term asset. On the balance sheet, the long-term asset account increases and the cash account decreases by $10,000.

As the long-term asset depreciates, the depreciation expense is reported on the income statement. As a result, Company XYZ's bottom line is not grossly affected by the substantial asset purchase in that period. The remainder of the $10,000 will, however, need to be continually reported as a depreciation expense until the asset has fully depreciated.

Why It Matters

Management's decision as to whether to capitalize or expense a purchase has a direct impact on its bottom line. If a company were to report the total cost of an asset purchase as an expense on its income statement (which is to say not capitalize), the cost, depending on the size, it would significantly reduce their net income figure for the reporting period.

Because earnings are probably the single most important indicator of a company's financial strength and growth potential, they are used by investment analysts to provide estimates of a company's growth potential and offer target price estimates for investors interested in purchasing shares. Therefore, company management has a huge interest in managing the way earnings are reported.

Source: Investing Answers

capitalize

verb

English Language Learners Definition of capitalize

: to use a capital letter to write, print, or type (a letter of the alphabet)
: to begin (a word or name) with a capital letter
: to provide the money that is needed to start or develop (a business)

capitalize

verb
cap·​i·​tal·​ize | \ ˈka-pə-tə-ˌlīz How to pronounce capitalize (audio) \
capitalized; capitalizing

Kids Definition of capitalize

1 : to write with a beginning capital letter or in all capital letters
2 : to provide money needed to start or develop (a business)
3 : to gain by turning something to advantage The winner capitalized on his opponent's mistakes.

Other Words from capitalize

capitalization \ ˌka-​pə-​tə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən \ noun

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capitalize

transitive verb
cap·​i·​tal·​ize | \ ˈka-pət-ᵊl-ˌīz How to pronounce capitalize (audio) \
capitalized; capitalizing

Legal Definition of capitalize

1a : to convert into capital capitalize the company's earnings
b : to treat as a capital expenditure rather than an ordinary and necessary expense the cost of the merger must be capitalized
2a : to compute the present value of (an income extended over a period of time) — compare amortize
b : to convert (a periodic payment) into an equivalent capital sum capitalized annuities
3 : to supply capital for had capitalized the business with her own savings

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