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

Past White House hopefuls have waited for the downturns to start before capitalizing on them. Washington Post, "Warren warns of economic trouble ahead. Is she right?," 26 July 2019 But competition there will be fierce, with locals aiming to emulate the smartphone market by capitalizing on their proximity to manufacturing expertise, state support, and a greater willingness to pursue risky ideas. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "The future of electric car design has yet to be written," 5 Oct. 2018 Federer might be kicking himself for not capitalizing on the match points Sunday but also not finishing off Djokovic even earlier. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Djokovic saves match points, beats Federer in historic Wimbledon final," 14 July 2019 With this in mind, McGrath will be targeting voters in the deep red state not necessarily by running a traditional Democratic campaign, but by capitalizing on McConnell's unpopularity. Grace Segers, CBS News, "McGrath to try to capitalize on McConnell's unpopularity in Kentucky Senate race," 11 July 2019 Happy to see his players returning to the club, Skinner also emphasized the importance of capitalizing on the learning experience of a high-level international tournament. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Alanna Kennedy, Emily Van Egmond and Shelina Zadorsky return from World Cup, bolster Pride roster," 5 July 2019 The inability of young male players to challenge the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic triumvirate has begun to raise questions about what exactly is keeping them from fully capitalizing on their obvious potential. Kevin Craft, The Atlantic, "What the Men Can Learn From the Women at Wimbledon," 2 July 2019 Walmart was also deft in capitalizing on many rivals’ problems or demise (Toys ‘R’ Us to name just one), leading it to its best holiday season in years. Fortune, "Walmart," 1 July 2019 Giants starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz enjoyed a solid night, but the D’backs broke a scoreless tie in the seventh against reliever Sam Dyson after capitalizing on a stunning error by Giants center fielder Kevin Pillar. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Sloppy defense costs Giants, Vogt’s late home run not enough to carry offense," 29 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.

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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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Statistics for capitalize

Last Updated

7 Aug 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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