how well do you know SHAUNTE

The first appearance of the word is from 1782 and means an odd person. This sense survives today in the word "quizzical". It was also used in the term quizzing glass, a common accoutrement of English Regency dandies. It later acquired a meaning of to make fun of, or to mock. How it acquired its current meaning of a test is unknown, but that sense did not appear until 1867 and then it was in the United States. The OED2 has a cite from 1847 where the word appears: "She com back and quiesed us", which could be a clue to its origin. Quiz as a test could be a corruption.

There is a well-known but untrue story of the word "quiz", which says that in 1791 a Dublin theater owner named James Daly made a bet that he could introduce a word into the language within twenty-four hours. He then went out and hired a group of street urchins to write the word "quiz", which was a nonsense word, on walls around the city of Dublin. Within a day, the word was common currency and had acquired a meaning (since no one knew what it meant, everyone thought it was some sort of test) and Daly had some extra cash in his pocket. While entertaining, there is absolutely no evidence to support it and the term was already in use before the alleged bet in 1791.

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Quiz topic: How well do I know SHAUNTE