"person with a natural gift or talent," 1925, originally in prizefighting, from natural (adj.). But an older sense is almost opposite to this, "half-wit, idiot" (one "naturally deficient" in intellect), which was in use 16c. to 19c. In Middle English, the word as a noun meant "natural capacity, physical ability or power" (early 14c.), and it was common in sense "a native of a place" in Shakespeare's day. Also in 17c., "a mistress."
"grant temporary possession of," late 14c., from past tense of Old English lænan "to grant temporarily, lease out, make loans, lend money at interest," from Proto-Germanic *laihwnjan, verb derived from *loikw-nes-, the prehistoric source of Old English læn "gift" (see loan (n.)). Compare Dutch lenen, Old High German lehanon, German lehnen, all verbs derived from nouns. In Middle English the past tense form, with terminal -d, became the principal form on analogy of bend, send, etc. To lend an ear "listen" is from late 14c.
"action of talking," earlier "chatter, loquacity, idle talk" (mid-13c.), also "falsehood, deceit," originally "a gibe, a taunt" (c. 1200), mid-13c., probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse gabb "mocking, mockery," and in part from Old French gap, gab "joke, jest; bragging talk," which also is probably from Scandinavian (compare gab (v.)). Probably also there is influence from Scottish and northern English gab "the mouth" (see gob (n.2)); OED reports the word "Not in dignified use." Gift of (the) gab "talent for speaking" is from 1680s.
Old English borrowing from Late Latin manna, from Greek manna, from Hebrew mān, probably literally "substance exuded by the tamarisk tree," but used in Greek and Latin specifically with reference to the substance miraculously supplied to the Children of Israel during their wandering in the Wilderness (Exodus xvi.15). The Hebrew word often is referred to man "a gift." Meaning "spiritual nourishment" is attested from late 14c. Generalized sense of "something provided unexpectedly" is from 1590s.
early 15c., "periodical payment; soldier's pay," from Latin stipendium "tax, impost, tribute," in military use "pay, salary," from stips "alms, small payment, contribution of money, gift" + pendere "to hang, cause to hang; weigh; pay" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin"). According to Klein's sources, the first element is related to Latin stipes "log, stock, trunk of a tree" (see stipe). For the financial sense of the Latin verb, see pound (n.1). As a verb from late 15c.
late 13c., "a gift, a reward, a favor bestowed freely;" c. 1300, "goodness, virtue; beauty; ; excellence; knightly prowess, strength, valor, chivalry," early 14c., "a helpful act, an act of generosity, a good deed," also "liberality in giving, generosity, munificence," from Anglo-French bountee, Old French bonte "goodness" (12c., Modern French bonté), from Latin bonitatem (nominative bonitas) "goodness," from bonus "good" (see bonus).
The sense of "gift bestowed by a sovereign or the state" led to the extended senses of "premium or gratuity to a military recruit" (1702) and "reward for killing or taking a criminal or enemy" (1764) or dangerous animal (1847).
Bounty-jumper "one who enlists in the military, collects the bounty, and flees without reporting for duty" is from the American Civil War (by 1864). Bounty-hunter is from 1893, American English, originally in reference to wild animals.
I do ... promise, that there shall be paid ... the following several and respective premiums and Bounties for the prisoners and Scalps of the Enemy Indians that shall be taken or killed .... ["Papers of the Governor of Pennsylvania," 1764]
"reward, recompense" (now only poetic), late 14c., from Old French guerdon, guerredon "reward, recompense, payment," from Medieval Latin widerdonum, from Old High German widarlon "recompense," from widar "against," from Proto-Germanic *withro- (see with) + lon "reward," from Proto-Germanic *launam, from PIE *lau- "gain, profit" (see lucre). Compare Old English wiðerlean "requital, compensation." Form influenced in Medieval Latin by Latin donum "gift." Compare Spanish galardon, Italian guiderone.
late 14c., legacie, "body of persons sent on a mission," from Medieval Latin legatia, from Latin legatus "ambassador, envoy, deputy," noun use of past participle of legare "send with a commission, appoint as deputy, appoint by a last will" (see legate).
Sense of "property left by will, a gift by will" appeared in Scottish mid-15c. Legacy-hunter is attested from 1690s. French legs "a legacy" is a bad spelling of Old French lais (see lease (n.)). French legacie is attested only from 16c.
1540s, "the common daw," a type of small European crow (Corvus monedula), "which frequents church towers, old buildings, etc.; noted for its loquacity and thievish propensities" [OED]. See jack (n.) + daw.
In modern times, parrots are almost the only birds that have the gift of speech, though connoisseurs are not ignorant that starlings and jackdaws have good abilities in that way, when properly educated. ["Chambers' Home Book and Pocket Miscellany," 1853]
In U.S. sometimes applied to a species of grackle.
late 14c., "of Greece or its people," from Greek (n.). Earlier Gregeis (c. 1200), from Old French Gregois; also Greekish (Old English Grecisc). From 1540s as "of the Greek language;" 1550s as "of the Eastern Church." From 1888 as "of Greek-letter fraternities." In venery, "anal," by 1970. Greek fire "inflammable substance invented 7c. by Callinicus of Heliopolis and used by the Byzantines (who in the Middle Ages were known as 'Greeks')" is from c. 1400, earlier Grickisce fure (c. 1200). Greek gift is from "Æneid," II.49: "timeo Danaos et dona ferentes."