Yes, we all appreciate having some money. But this term applies to when the value of the capital goes up or, well, appreciates. Note that the appreciation doesn't have to be realized or sold to be recognized as having appreciated. That is, the stock for which you paid $32.59 a share is now trading for $46.98 a share. You've done nothing with it. Haven't sold it. Haven't trimmed even a share. It has appreciated $14.39 a share, which you appreciate, especially since no taxman cometh until you do in fact sell.