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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for capitalize

Synonyms

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

Antonyms

defund

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Nohelin Hernandez showed some potential with his performance but Marlon Vera capitalized on his opportunity in the second and picked up another nice win in what’s shaping up as a quality UFC career. Todd Martin, latimes.com, "UFC 239: Jon Jones defeats Thiago Santos; Nunes stops Holm," 6 July 2019 Her challenge now is perhaps as difficult as gaining the advantage: capitalizing on it. Liz Goodwin, BostonGlobe.com, "One viral moment can set a 2020 candidate apart — but they’re hard to come by," 6 July 2019 The right-handed pitcher's role seemed up in the air after the Dodgers capitalized on his poor pitching in back-to-back walk-off wins. Katherine Fitzgerald, azcentral, "Arizona Diamondbacks stick with Greg Holland as closer despite rough outings in L.A.," 5 July 2019 When his star teammates went away for a weekend during AAU, Windler was given a unique opportunity and capitalized, leading his team on a deep run and picking up scholarship offers. Chris Fedor, cleveland.com, "John Beilein gushes about Dylan Windler following Cleveland Cavaliers’ summer league debut: ‘He’s going to make everybody better’," 2 July 2019 The 23-year-old Lubin (21-1), who lost to Jermell Charlo in 2017, dominated Attou from early in the fight but really capitalized when Attou suffered a bicep injury in the third round. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Jermall Charlo takes unanimous decision over Brandon Adams to retain World Boxing Council middleweight title," 30 June 2019 Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts – also had solid performances that could help them capitalize on any dip in Biden’s support. Steven Lemongello, orlandosentinel.com, "Democratic debates in Miami produce stars and stumblers, but few candidates likely to drop out soon," 28 June 2019 Morton gave up three runs in the first inning as the Twins (52-27) capitalized on Eddie Rosario and C.J. Cron RBI singles and a wild pitch. Betsy Helfand, Twin Cities, "Nelson Cruz delivers in clutch, Eddie Rosario injured in Twins’ win," 26 June 2019 With Scott gone to the NFL and expected starter Connor Heyward also still learning the position, there is an opportunity for Jefferson to capitalize on his raw skills and become an impact player on offense. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State RB La'Darius Jefferson showed flashes, needs to grow," 25 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of capitalize

1764, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for capitalize

see capital entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about capitalize

Statistics for capitalize

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for capitalize

The first known use of capitalize was in 1764

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on capitalize

What made you want to look up capitalize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to complain fretfully

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!