The word ‘QUIZ’ is now familiar among children as well as the aged. It is a popular item in the television media too. Today ‘to Quiz’ means “to ask questions”. When children in school have a quiz that means they have to given answers to questions. But can you answer a question about ‘quiz’? The question is simple.
How did the word ‘quiz’ originate? When was this word introduced in the English language and who was behind it? That is quite a story. It happened in 1780. There was an Irishman name Jim Dally. He was not a linguist or a grammarian. He was a poor theatre manager in Dublin. One day he was chating with some of his friends. The discussion entered into the field of English language. Somebody remarked about the abundance of words in a language with only twenty six letters in the alphabet. Jim Dally intervened. He said “Creating new words is not a big thing. I can introduce a new word into the English language within twenty four hours”. “No! You can’t”. All the friends shouted together. Jim Dally accepted the challenge. He laid a bet that within 24 hours he could introduce a new word into the English language. Nobody believed him. They were sure that a theatre manager can’t create a new word in his short span of time. But Jim was confident.
He went home with a heavy head load. He was restless. But finally he made up a word that he was sure no one had ever heard before. Then he went out to the street. He hired all the kids he could find. He gave them sweets and a piece a chalk. Then he sent them off to write his new made up word on every fence, post, door and everywhere in the town. Jim Dally hardly slept a wink.
The next morning, just as his prediction his new word was the talk of the town. What was that word? It was ‘QUIZ’ Jim Dally had won his bet also. In the beginning people used the word ‘quiz’ to mean ”trick”. And if you quizzed someone, you were trying to find out something was trick or joke. But today, quiz means quiz; it means to ask question. This is the story of the word quiz.