To test the knowledge of by posing questions. See Synonyms at ask.
Chiefly British To poke fun at; mock.
A questioning or an inquiry.
A short oral or written test.
A practical joke.
Origin: Origin unknown.
Word History: The origins of the word quiz are as difficult to pin down as the answers to some quizzes. We can say that its first recorded sense has to do with people, not tests. The term, first recorded in 1782, meant “an odd or eccentric person.” From the noun in this sense came a verb meaning “to make sport or fun of” and “to regard mockingly.” In English dialects and probably in American English the verb quiz acquired senses relating to interrogation and questioning. This presumably occurred because quiz was associated with question,inquisitive, or perhaps the English dialect verb quiset, “to question” (probably itself short for obsolete inquisite, “to investigate”). From this new area of meaning came the noun and verb senses all too familiar to students. The second recorded instance of the noun sense occurs in the writings of no less an educator than William James, who in a December 26, 1867, letter proffers the hope that “perhaps giving ‘quizzes’ in anatomy and physiology . . . may help along.”