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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Talent


TAL'ENT, noun [Latin talentum; Gr. to bear, allied to Latin tollo. The word is said to have originally signified a balance or scales.]

1. Among the ancients, a weight, and a coin. The true value of the talent cannot well be ascertained, but it is known that it was different among different nations. The Attic talent the weight, contained 60 Attic minae, or 6000 Attic drachmae, equal to 56 pounds, eleven ounces, English troy weight. The mina being reckoned equal to f3 4s.7d. sterling, or fourteen dollars and a third nearly, the talent was of the value of f193 15s sterling, about $861 dollars. Other computations make it f225 sterling.

The Romans had the great talent and the little talent; the great talent is computed to be equal to f99 6s. 8d. sterling, and the little talent to f75 sterling.

2. talent among the Hebrews, was also a gold coin, the same with a shekel of gold; called also stater, and weighing only four drachmas.

But the Hebrew talent of silver, called cicar, was equivalent to three thousand shekels, or one hundred and thirteen pounds, ten ounces and a fraction, troy weight.

3. Faculty; natural gift or endowment; a metaphorical application of the word, said to be borrowed from the Scriptural parable of the talents. Matthew 25:24.

He is chiefly to be considered in his three different talents, as a critic, a satirist, and a writer of odes.

'Tis not my talent to conceal my thoughts.

4. Eminent abilities; superior genius; as, he is a man of talents.

[Talent, in the singular, is sometimes used in a like sense.]

5. Particular faculty; skill. He has a talent at drawing.

6. [Sp. talante, manner of performing any thing, will, disposition.] Quality; disposition.