I'm looking for a verb that has a similar meaning to monopolize, but in a different context. Specifically, a word that means to make money off of an event or situation/ to use the situation for personal gain. For example:

“Still, he shouldn’t monopolize our misfortune,” Mac replies.

“No, he shouldn’t,” Father answers.

“It’s not a tragedy to them. It’s a life-changing moment in history,” I add.

Father nods, agreeing with me. Mac sighs.

Because monopolize means:

to acquire, have, or exercise a monopoly of.

to obtain exclusive possession of; keep entirely to oneself: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/monopolize?s=t

It does not fit properly in the sentence. What is another word I can use instead?

This question did provide a noun, but I need a verb that has a similar meaning, as opportunize is not a word.

(Onelook reverse dictionary provided no assistance)


5 Answers 5


From Merriam-Webster: Capitalize - intransitive verb: to gain by turning something to advantage (capitalize on an opponent's mistake)

In your example:

“Still, he shouldn’t capitalize upon our misfortune,” Mac replies.

“No, he shouldn’t,” Father answers.

“It’s not a tragedy to them. It’s a life-changing moment in history,” I add.

Father nods, agreeing with me. Mac sighs.

  • Le mot juste, if you ask me!
    – DyingIsFun
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 20:51
  • capitalize : "to gain by turning something to advantage"; 'he shouldn’t take advantage of our misfortune' | monetize : "earn revenue from"; 'he shouldn’t monetize our misfortune' ('he shouldn’t earn revenue from our misfortune')
    – Mazura
    Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 0:35
  • Capitalize is to take advantage of an opportunity. It is not only to gain advantage at another's disadvantage. The connotation can be positive or negative.
    – Greg
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 3:54

I think "exploit" is appropriate here.

Exploit (verb): to utilize, especially for profit; turn to practical account:

There are a few synonyms that also work, such as "abuse", "capitalize on", and "utilize". But I think "exploit" works best.

Applied to your example:

“Still, he shouldn’t exploit our misfortune,” Mac replies.

“Still, he shouldn’t abuse our misfortune,” Mac replies.

“Still, he shouldn’t capitalize on our misfortune,” Mac replies.

“Still, he shouldn’t utilize our misfortune,” Mac replies.


The verb you are looking for is profit from:

  • to get an advantage from a situation Macmillan

Opportunize actually is a word

Let's be clear: I don't particularly like opportunize. To me, it smacks of marketing-speak and bad PowerPoints. Also dictionaries don't like this word - I can't find it listed in any.

However, opportunize (or opportunise, if you prefer) makes sense as a word - we all know what it means because it's properly formed according to the rules - and people do use it.

So, my opinion and stylistic prejudice aside, it is a word - it's a functional stand-alone unit of communication. (However, another factor to be borne in mind is that non-native speakers and, say, high-school students are very likely to be 'corrected' if they use words that are anything like opportunize.)

Here's a few samples of opportunize in action:

Still, Achiever conflict-resolutionists should try to opportunize both of the rivals. Improver conflict-resolutionists, however, will reach a different conclusion.

David Kowalewski, Dean Hoover, Dynamic Models of Conflict and Pacification: Dissenters, Officials, and Peacemakers (1995)

On the basis of psychological research, many architects now “harden” and “de-opportunize” public settings to discourage vandalism and graffiti. Some such efforts limit opportunities for vandalism (doorless toilet stalls, tiled walls).

Dennis Coon, ‎John O. Mitterer, Introduction to Psychology: Gateways to Mind and Behavior (2008)

It is the right organism to opportunize the environment which also includes corneal epithelial damage with probable presentation of ligand sites.

Torkel Wadström, ‎Ingvar Eliasson, ‎Ian Holder, Pathogenesis of Wound and Biomaterial-Associated Infections (2012)

Governments may opportunize water issues to promote other political interests. This may especially be relevant in the case of an instrumentalized security discourse.

Philip Jan Schäfer, Human and Water Security in Israel and Jordan (2012)

These examples seem to show my instincts regarding the word were a little off: opportunize's register is definitely formal but more technical or academic rather than business.

There are, of course, valid reasons not to use opportunize, not least that there are better alternatives for your context as opportunize isn't particularly common and, as a technical word, it really isn't suitable for spoken, conversational registers.

For clarity, opportunize means to create opportunities out of.

  • "opportunize means to create opportunities out of." That meaning doesn't make sense in many of the examples you give. For instance, in the first example, a person's actions can be an opportunity, but the people themselves aren't. Furthermore, an opportunity is a situation in which you have the option to do something. It doesn't make sense to create opportunities out of something, because that would be doing something, which means that you had the option to do something, which means that it must already have been an opportunity. Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 18:56
  • @Acccumulation You're right... It doesn't work in the first example, though it does in the others. I'm open to suggestions! (The rest I'm finding a little difficult to parse but I'll come back to it later.)
    – tmgr
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 19:00

Another option is "take advantage of"

take advantage of, to make use of for gain: to take advantage of an opportunity. to impose upon, especially unfairly, as by exploiting a weakness: to take advantage of someone.


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