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[kap-i-tl-ahyz] /ˈkæp ɪ tlˌaɪz/
verb (used with object), capitalized, capitalizing.
to write or print in capital letters letters or with an initial capital letter.
to authorize a certain amount of stocks and bonds in the corporate charter of:
to capitalize a corporation.
to issue stock as a dividend, thereby capitalizing retained earnings, or as settlement of an unpaid arrearage of preferred dividends.
Accounting. to set up (expenditures) as business assets in the books of account instead of treating as expense.
to supply with capital.
to estimate the value of (a stock or an enterprise).
verb (used without object), capitalized, capitalizing.
to take advantage of; turn something to one's advantage (often followed by on):
to capitalize on one's opportunities.
Also, especially British, capitalise.
Origin of capitalize
An Americanism dating back to 1755-65; capital1 + -ize
Related forms
capitalizable, adjective
capitalizer, noun
noncapitalized, adjective
uncapitalized, adjective
7. profit by, exploit, utilize. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for capitalise
Historical Examples
  • James as a temperamental Puritan—one is forced to capitalise the unhappy word!

    Unicorns James Huneker
  • So evidence was given as to his income; and the idea was to capitalise it at £8,000.

  • This transaction furnishes a fair illustration of the basis on which this inner group is able to capitalise its financial power.

    Readings in Money and Banking

    Chester Arthur Phillips
  • Dollar credit will be a world necessity if we capitalise the opportunity that peace may bring us.

    The War After the War Isaac Frederick Marcosson
  • It is, therefore, up to the American exporter to capitalise the needs of the nation and the good will that it bears toward us.

    The War After the War Isaac Frederick Marcosson
  • capitalise it, friend typo—that last word—word of words in the epiphany of life and love.

    The Four Million

    O. Henry
  • This implies the necessity to capitalise a corresponding further amount of the surplus value.

  • We need only assume that the capitalists of Department I capitalise their surplus value to a greater extent.

British Dictionary definitions for capitalise


verb (mainly transitive)
(intransitive) foll by on. to take advantage (of); profit (by)
to write or print (text) in capital letters or with the first letter of (a word or words) in capital letters
to convert (debt or retained earnings) into capital stock
to authorize (a business enterprise) to issue a specified amount of capital stock
to provide with capital
(accounting) to treat (expenditures) as assets
  1. to estimate the present value of (a periodical income)
  2. to compute the present value of (a business) from actual or potential earnings
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
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Word Origin and History for capitalise

chiefly British English spelling of capitalize (q.v.). For suffix, see -ize.



"write or print in capital letters," 1764, from capital (n.1) + -ize. Meaning "to convert (assets) to capital" is recorded from 1868. Related: Capitalized; capitalizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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