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capitalize

[ kap-i-tl-ahyz ]
/ ˈkæp ɪ tlˌaɪz /
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See synonyms for: capitalize / capitalizing on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), cap·i·tal·ized, cap·i·tal·iz·ing.
verb (used without object), cap·i·tal·ized, cap·i·tal·iz·ing.
to take advantage of; turn something to one's advantage (often followed by on): to capitalize on one's opportunities.

OTHER WORDS FOR capitalize

7 profit by, exploit, utilize.

VIDEO FOR CAPITALIZE

Capitalization Is Complicated: Can You Answer These Questions Correctly?

With so many rules, capitalization is perfect for a game show. Will you learn something new or take the prize?

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Also especially British, cap·i·tal·ise .

Origin of capitalize

An Americanism dating back to 1755–65; capital1 + -ize

OTHER WORDS FROM capitalize

cap·i·tal·iz·a·ble, adjectivecap·i·tal·iz·er, nounnon·cap·i·tal·ized, adjectiveun·cap·i·tal·ized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

MORE ABOUT CAPITALIZE

What does capitalize mean?

To capitalize a word is to make its first letter a capital letter—an uppercase letter. For example, to capitalize the word polish (which is here spelled with a lowercase p), you would write it as Polish. 

A word whose first letter is a capital can be described as capitalized. The state of being capitalized (or the process of capitalizing) is called capitalization, as in Please check your paper for proper punctuation and capitalization.  

In English, words are capitalized for a few different reasons. It is considered a standard rule of English to capitalize proper nouns (which are nouns that refer to specific people, places, or things—meaning one’s that have specific names), such as Jess, Mexico, and Nintendo. Capitalizing a word can change the way the reader interprets its meaning, as in the case of polish (a verb meaning to make something shinier) and Polish (an adjective describing someone from Poland) or apple (the fruit) and Apple (the company).

We also capitalize the first word in a sentence. Sometimes, we capitalize the first letter of each word in a title, as in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. 

Example: A lot of people don’t bother to capitalize words when sending text messages. 

Capitalize also has several other meanings. To capitalize on something means to take advantage of it. You can capitalize on an opportunity or a situation by doing something to benefit from it in some way.

Example: The company is capitalizing on the publicity by releasing new merchandise. 

In the context of finance, capitalize is used in more specific and technical ways. The most straightforward sense of the word in this context means to supply with capital (money).

Example: Most startups are capitalized by friends and family members before they’re able to secure significant funding.

Where does capitalize come from?

The first records of the word capitalize come from around 1760. The suffix -ize is used to form verbs and means “to make” or “to convert into.” The base word capital comes from the Latin capitālis, meaning “concerning the head,” or “chief,” from caput, “head.” The word capital in the sense of money comes from the Medieval Latin capitāle, meaning “wealth.”

It can be confusing to know whether or not to capitalize certain words in certain situations, but a capitalization guide can help.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to capitalize?

  • capitalized (past tense verb, adjective)
  • uncapitalized (adjective)
  • noncapitalized (adjective)
  • capitalizable (adjective)
  • capitalization (noun)

What are some synonyms for capitalize?

What are some words that share a root or word element with capitalize

 

What are some words that often get used in discussing capitalize?

How is capitalize used in real life?

Capitalize can be used in many different contexts. Capitalizing words is an important part of spelling and grammar.

 

Try using capitalize!

Which of the following kinds of words is often capitalized?

A. a proper noun
B. the first word in a sentence
C. the first word in a title
D. all of the above

How to use capitalize in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for capitalize

capitalize

capitalise

/ (ˈkæpɪtəˌlaɪz) /

verb (mainly tr)
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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