The story goes that in 1780 a Mr. Daly, the manager of a Dublin theatre, wagered that he could introduce a new word of no meaning into the language in twenty-four hours.
All around the city, he chalked the letters QUIZ up on walls and doors and all the people of Dublin were asking what the word meant.
Mr. Daly won his bet and ‘quiz’ became part of the language.
Among its now obsolete meanings are ‘a practical joke or hoax’ and ‘a puzzling or eccentric person’.
These seem to fit with the legend of Mr. Daly.
A monocular eyeglass with, or without, a handle was called a quizzing glass and the term quiz was used to refer to any odd or ridiculous person.
These days of course, the word more commonly refers to a test, usually a competition of knowledge, or a verb meaning to interrogate.