Origin of talent

before 900; Middle English, Old English talente < Latin talenta, plural of talentum < Greek tálanton balance, weight, monetary unit

Synonyms for talent

Synonym study

1. See ability.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for talent

Contemporary Examples of talent

Historical Examples of talent

  • Papa used to think that she had no talent for anything but dancing.

  • 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 abilitya 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 placethe local talent
an obsolete word for inclination
Derived Formstalented, adjective

Word Origin for talent

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

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