Attested since the 1780s, of unknown origin.
- The Century Dictionary suggests it was originally applied to a popular toy, from a dialectal variant of whiz.
- The Random House Dictionary suggests the original sense was "odd person" (circa 1780).
- Others suggest the meaning "hoax" was original (1796), shifting to the meaning "interrogate" (1847) under the influence of to question and inquisitive.
- Some say without evidence it was invented by a late-18th-century Dublin theatre proprietor who bet he could add a new nonsense word to the English language; he had the word painted on walls all over the city, and the morning after, everyone was talking about it.
- Others suggest it was originally quies (1847), Latin qui es? (who are you?), traditionally the first question in oral Latin exams. They suggest that it was first used as a noun from 1867, and the spelling quiz first recorded in 1886, but this is demonstrably incorrect.
quiz (plural quizzes)
- (dated) An odd, puzzling or absurd person or thing.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Smart to this entry?)
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Thackeray to this entry?)
- 1796, Fanny Burney, Camilla: or, A picture of youth, by the author of Evelina, page 99:
- I've always heard he was a quiz, says another, or a quoz, or some such word ; but I did not know he was such a book-worm.
- 1833, Maria Edgeworth, Moral Tales, volume 1, page 204:
- I tell you I am going to the music shop. I trust to your honour. Lord Rawson, I know, will call me a fool for trusting to the honour of a quiz.
- A competition in the answering of questions.
We came second in the pub quiz.
- (education) A school examination of less importance, or of greater brevity, than others given in the same course.
competition in the answering of questions
a school examination of less importance
- (transitive, archaic) To hoax; to chaff or mock with pretended seriousness of discourse; to make sport of, as by obscure questions.
(Can we date this quote?), Thackeray, The History of Pendennis:
- He quizzed unmercifully all the men in the room.
- (transitive, archaic) To peer at; to eye suspiciously or mockingly.
- (transitive) To question closely, to interrogate.
- (transitive) To instruct by means of a quiz.
- (transitive) (obsolete, rare) To play with a quiz
- quiz (competition in the answering of questions)
Declension of quiz
quiz m (plural quizes)
- quiz (question-answering competition)
- Obsolete spelling of