verb (used with object), capitalized, capitalizing.
to write or print in capital letters or with an initial capital.
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.

1755–65, Americanism; capital1 + -ize

capitalizable, adjective
capitalizer, noun
noncapitalized, adjective
uncapitalized, adjective

7. profit by, exploit, utilize. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
capitalize or capitalise (ˈkæpɪtəˌlaɪz)
vb (foll by on)
1.  to take advantage (of); profit (by)
2.  to write or print (text) in capital letters or with the first letter of (a word or words) in capital letters
3.  to convert (debt or retained earnings) into capital stock
4.  to authorize (a business enterprise) to issue a specified amount of capital stock
5.  to provide with capital
6.  accounting to treat (expenditures) as assets
7.  a.  to estimate the present value of (a periodical income)
 b.  to compute the present value of (a business) from actual or potential earnings
capitalise or capitalise

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"act of writing or printing in capital letters," 1764, from capital. Meaning "to convert (assets) to capital" is recorded from 1868. Capitalized is recorded from 1863. Capitalizing is from 1880.

alt. British spelling of capitalize (q.v.). For suffix, see -ize.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
They know their markets and want to capitalise on the value of that knowledge.
All this has curbed the country's ability to capitalise on its geological
Other firms have sought to capitalise on the confusion.
As with the provision of power in general, the government hopes to capitalise
  on this transition to spur economic development.
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