mid-13c. (c.1100 in surnames), from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse gift, gipt "gift, good luck," from Proto-Germanic *giftiz (cf. Old Saxon gift, Old Frisian jefte, Middle Dutch ghifte "gift," German Mitgift "dowry"), from PIE root *ghabh- "to give or receive" (see habit).
For German Gift "poison," see poison (n.). Old English cognate gift meant "bride-price, marriage gift (by the groom), dowry" (Old English noun for "giving, gift" was related giefu). Sense of "natural talent" is c.1300, perhaps from earlier sense of "inspiration" (late 12c.). As a verb from 16c., especially in gifted. As a verb, giftwrap (also gift-wrap) attested by 1936.