1. Among the ancient greeks, a weight and a denomination of money equal to 60 minae or 6,000 drachmae. The attic talent, as a weight, was about 57 lbs. Avoirdupois; as a denomination of silver money, its value was ?243 15s. Sterling, or about $1,180. Rowing vessel whose burden does not exceed five hundred talents. (Jowett (Thucid))
2. Among the Hebrews, a weight and denomination of money. For silver it was equivalent to 3,000 shekels, and in weight was equal to about 93 lbs. Avoirdupois; as a denomination of silver, it has been variously estimated at from ?340 to ?396 sterling, or about $1,645 to $1,916. For gold it was equal to 10,000 gold shekels.
3. Inclination; will; disposition; desire. They rather counseled you to your talent than to your profit. (Chaucer)
4. Intellectual ability, natural or acquired; mental endowment or capacity; skill in accomplishing; a special gift, particularly in business, art, or the like; faculty; a use of the word probably originating in the Scripture parable of the talents . He is chiefly to be considered in his three different talents, as a critic, a satirist, and a writer of odes. (Dryden) His talents, his accomplishments, his graceful manners, made him generally popular. (Macaulay)
Synonym: ability, faculty, gift, endowment. See genius.
Origin: F, fr. L. Talentum a talent (in sense 1), Gr. A balance, anything weighed, a definite weight, a talent; akin to to bear, endure, L. Tolerare, tollere, to lift up, sustain, endure. See Thole, Tolerate.