- noun an ability or skill
- noun people with exceptional abilities, especially the employees that the company values most
- adjective excellent. An adjectival use of the noun, heard among schoolchildren since the 1990s.
- noun attractive potential sexual partners. A generic term first applied before World War II to women and men. Since the mid-1960s female speakers have also applied the word (sometimes ironically) to desirable males.
Origin & History of “talent”
Greek tálanton meant ‘balance, weight’, and hence ‘unit of weight or money’. Latin borrowed it as talentum, using it metaphorically for ‘mental inclination’, and it was in this sense that English originally acquired it, via Old French talent. ‘Unit of money’ did not arrive (apart from one isolated Old English instance) until the late 14th century, and it was the use of the word in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14–30), in which a master gave his servants talents (money), which two of them put out to interest, earning their master’s approval, while the other less enterprising servant simply buried his, that led in the early 15th century to the use of the term for ‘aptitude, ability’.