What is the origin of `quiz’?

According to one theory, this word was coined and popularised overnight. The story goes that a theatre manager in Dublin by the name of James Daly took a bet with his friend that he could coin a new word and have everyone in the city using it or talking about it within twenty-four hours. Daly hired street children, gave them a stick of chalk each, and told them to write the word `quiz’ (which didn’t exist then) on any surface they could find. The children spent the night writing the word on walls and on roads. When the people of Dublin woke up the next morning, they found the word written everywhere. People began to talk about it and they all wanted to know what it meant. Of course, not everyone believes this to be the true origin of the word.

Source: The Hindu ‘Know Your English’ Series, January 2, 2006.


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