Anybody ever heard this story of the etymology of the word “quiz” before?

I don’t remember the details of who and when (I’m sure it was 19th century or earlier), I think it happened in England. Anyway, it goes like this: This guy bet his friends he could invent a word that would be used by people within 24 hours. He went and scribbled the (at the time) nonsense word “quiz” all around town during the night. The next day, everyone was talking and wondering what “quiz” meant–hence the word, and the meaning of the word.

Is there any truth to this, or is it just another legend?

I checked this post thinking it was Palidork under a new name trying to prove his superiority. Looks like I was wrong. =)
Interesting urban legend, I can’t wait to see the answer.

"No job’s too small, we bomb them all."
-Ace Wrecking Company

My dictionary says it probably comes from latin “quis”, meaning “what?”

Reminds me of a social studies teacher I had who loved giving us “quizzicals.” What the hell is that, we’d ask. It’s a little quiz.

“Oh yeah,” I used to retort “then what would you call a little test?”

Okay, okay, the humor is juvenile, but I was 13.

I don’t know who first said “everyone’s a critic,” but I think it’s a really stupid saying.

Verrrrrry interestin’.

Eric Partridge, in Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of English says the probable origin is quis as in inquisitive or inquisition.

OTOH, Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable says that “The origin of the word, which appeared around 1870, is unknown; but fable accounts for it by saying that a Mr. Daly, manager of a Dublin theatre, laid a wager that he would introduce into the language within twenty-four hours a new word of no meaning. Accordinly on every wall, or all places accessible, were chalked up the four mystic letters, and all Dublin was inquiring what they meant. The wager was won and the word bedcame part of the language.”

So I guess the jury is still out.

Isn’t quiz short for inquisition (Sp?)???

From Dictionary of Word Origins, John Ayto:

Since the original meaning of the word had nothing to do with tests or questions/questioning, even if the story is true, it wouldn’t tie the origin into the current meaning.

<< even if the story is true, it wouldn’t tie the origin into the current meaning. >>

Well, the story goes that the word was scribbled all over the walls, etc. and so people asked, quizzically, “Hey, what’s this mean?” and thus the meaning got attached to the word.

Sounds kinda far-fetched to me, but weirder things have happened.