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.