a. A denomination of weight, used by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and other ancient nations; varying greatly with time, people, and locality.The Royal Babylonian talent averaged about 29·87 kilograms or 65 lb. 13 oz.; the chief Greek varieties were the Old Æginetan talent of 40·3 kilog. (88 lb. 12 oz.), the later Æginetan or emporetic Attic, 36·4 kilog. (80 lb. 4 oz.), and the Solonic or later Attic, 25·8 kilog. (56 lb. 14 oz., or a little over half a hundredweight).
b. The value of a talent weight (of gold, silver, etc.): a money of account.The Babylonian silver talent was equal to 3000 shekels; the Greek talent contained 60 minæ or 6000 silver drachmæ, and the value of the later Attic talent of silver, with pure silver at 4s. 9d. an oz. troy, has been estimated at £200; at a higher value of silver, at £243 15s. (N.E.D.)
†d. figurative. Treasure, riches, wealth, abundance.
†2. Inclination, propension, or disposition for anything; ‘mind’, ‘will’, wish, desire, appetite.
†3. An evil inclination, disposition, or passion; esp. and usually, anger: cf. maltalent n. and adj., ‘ill talent’, ill-will (which occurs somewhat earlier). Obsolete.
a. Disposition or state of mind or character.
5. Power or ability of mind or body viewed as something divinely entrusted to a person for use and improvement: considered either as one organic whole or as consisting of a number of distinct faculties; (with plural) any one of such faculties.
a. A special natural ability or aptitude, usually for something expressed or implied; a natural capacity for success in some department of mental or physical activity; †an accomplishment (obsolete).
b. plural. Aptitudes or faculties of various kinds; mental powers of a superior order; abilities, parts.
c. collective singular (without a or plural). Mental power or ability; cleverness.
d. Talent as embodied in the talented; sometimes approaching or passing into the sense: Persons of talent or ability collectively; as singular, a person of talent. By the sporting press, applied to backers of horses, as distinguished from the ‘layers’ or bookmakers, the implication being that those whose investments make a horse a ‘favourite’ are supposed to be ‘the clever ones’. (Administration of) All the Talents (English History), an ironical appellation of the Ministry of Lord Grenville, 1806–7, implying that it combined in its members all the talents.
f. The women of a particular locality collectively (as singular), judged according to attractiveness and sexual promise, esp. as local talent n. (b) at local adj. and n. Compounds. Also applied occasionally to men. slang.
talent agency n. an organization which seeks to place talented amateurs in the world of professional entertainment.
talent money n. a bonus or gratuity given to a professional athlete, etc. for specially meritorious performance.
talent show n. a show or competition consisting of performances by a series of promising entertainers, esp. ones seeking to enter show business professionally.
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