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



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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 PRIDE Many past alumni of RuPaul's Drag Race will tell you that the key to success is capitalizing on your moment. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Nina West Wants Kids, Disney and Everyone In Between to Embrace Drag on Her New Christmas EP," 8 Nov. 2019 The Islamic State’s rise to power there in 2013 began when the militants capitalized on anti-government protests to hold ground. Washington Post, "An uprising in Iraq is the broadest in decades. It’s posing an alarming threat to Baghdad and Tehran.," 7 Nov. 2019 That’s good news for families and fans eager to see the show, but challenging for the producers, who spent a record $35.5 million to capitalize the play and have been banking on a long, strong run to recoup those costs. Michael Paulson, New York Times, "Harry Potter’s Sophomore Slump: ‘Cursed Child’ Loses Steam on Broadway," 5 Nov. 2019 Their newfound commitment both to creating and capitalizing on turnovers will energize Allen like little else that’s happened (beyond the wins themselves) over the last four weeks. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "IU football cruises to its 4th straight victory over struggling Northwestern," 3 Nov. 2019 Matt Hall had a 21-yard field goal blocked by Roshane Stevens with 10:17 left in the first half and Plantation capitalized and drove 95 yards in six plays to pull within 7-6. Gary Curreri,, "Bolden, Plantation get big finish at Stoneman Douglas," 2 Nov. 2019 The goal: wipe out the old pre-hurricane city and capitalize it instead. Paola Rosa-aquino, The New Republic, "The False Comfort of Higher Seawalls," 29 Oct. 2019 Skip to main content SportsPulse: Game 5 was setting up to be a series defining game and then the Nationals received devastating news from their ace pitcher and the Astros capitalized. Jesse Yomtov, USA TODAY, "Opinion: After roller-coaster decade, Nationals' Stephen Strasburg can become legend in World Series Game 6," 29 Oct. 2019 The Vikings capitalized on a Lakota West turnover on the way to a quick 14-0 lead, After Durham capped the game’s first possession with a 20-yard touchdown pass to , linebacker John Harris recovered Mitch Bolden’s fumble of a shotgun snap. Mark Schmetzer,, "Cincinnati Ohio high school football: Princeton Vikings outlast Lakota West Firebirds," 26 Oct. 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

13 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for capitalize

The first known use of capitalize was in 1764

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More Definitions for capitalize



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


How to pronounce capitalize (audio)

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)


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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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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Comments on capitalize

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to speed up the process or progress of

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