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[tal-uh nt] /ˈtæl ənt/
a special natural ability or aptitude:
a talent for drawing.
a capacity for achievement or success; ability:
young men of talent.
a talented person:
The cast includes many of the theater's major talents.
a group of persons with special ability:
an exhibition of watercolors by the local talent.
Movies and Television. professional actors collectively, especially star performers.
a power of mind or body considered as given to a person for use and improvement: so called from the parable in Matt. 25:14–30.
any of various ancient units of weight, as a unit of Palestine and Syria equal to 3000 shekels, or a unit of Greece equal to 6000 drachmas.
any of various ancient Hebrew or Attic monetary units equal in value to that of a talent weight of gold, silver, or other metal.
Obsolete. inclination or disposition.
Origin of talent
before 900; Middle English, Old English talente < Latin talenta, plural of talentum < Greek tálanton balance, weight, monetary unit
1. capability, gift, genius.
Synonym Study
1. See ability. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for talent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Papa used to think that she had no talent for anything but dancing.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • The heir-apparent, the late King, admired his talent and relished his society.

    In the Heart of Vosges Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • In one of his arts as in the other he decided that she had talent.

  • It was an admirable instrument, but it did not give him any talent.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • In our performance it was Mounet-Sully, in all the splendour of his talent, who played Hernani.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
British Dictionary definitions for talent


innate ability, aptitude, or faculty, esp when unspecified; above average ability: a talent for cooking, a child with talent
a person or persons possessing such ability
any of various ancient units of weight and money
(informal) members of the opposite sex collectively, esp those living in a particular place: the local talent
an obsolete word for inclination
Derived Forms
talented, adjective
Word Origin
Old English talente, from Latin talenta, pl of talentum sum of money, from Greek talanton unit of money or weight; in Medieval Latin the sense was extended to ability through the influence of the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14–30)
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 talent

late 13c., "inclination, disposition, will, desire," from Old French talent, from Medieval Latin talenta, plural of talentum "inclination, leaning, will, desire" (1098), in classical Latin "balance, weight, sum of money," from Greek talanton "balance, weight, sum," from PIE *tel-, *tol- "to bear, carry" (see extol).

Originally an ancient unit of weight or money (varying greatly and attested in Old English as talente), the Medieval Latin and common Romanic sense developed from figurative use of the word in the sense of "money." Meaning "special natural ability, aptitude," developed mid-14c., from the parable of the talents in Matt. xxv:14-30. Related: Talented.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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