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Thanks for your understanding.
Chris -- 2018-04-11
This appears to be a corruption of “pop quiz.” I never encountered it until a few days ago, during which I see three instances. Google gives 1.75m hits for “pop quiz” but also 750k for “pub quiz.”
Is this an eggcorn? Or are both terms equally valid? Or is something else going on? (What?)
Welcome to the Eggcorn website, ap.
A “pub quiz” is simply a contest held in a pub. (Perhaps you’ve encountered electronic trivia contests held at sports bars when contestants can compete nationwide). And, perhaps the “pub” part indicates that this is the British equivalent of the phenom. I don’t know that it necessarily got it’s name from “pop quiz,” and since they had to name it something, “pub quiz” seems like an apt description. So, to answer your final set of inquiries, I’d describe the terms as equally valid.
I’d like to second Joe’s welcome ap, and make the observation that you surely cannot be resident in the UK, where a pub quiz is far more commonly encountered than a ‘pop quiz’? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what a ‘pop quiz’ is, unless it’s a lot of questions about who sang what and when. I much prefer the term ‘bar’ to ‘pub’ but in the South of England ‘pub’ prevails. A ‘pub’ is, of course, short for ‘public house’ – but not everyone would necessarily know that.
No, I’m not a resident of the UK. (In fact, I’ve spent hardly any time at all among native English speakers of any ilk.) But neither were the people saying “pub quiz”! I know of at least two of them that they are Americans, and that they haven’t lived in the UK at any time.
A “pop quiz” is simply a quiz given without a warning, with the implication that the person(s) at the receiving end is/are to answer quickly. Usually they’re circumstantially under some pressure to adhere to that expectation – the canonical situation being a TV show, but you might also imagine someone at a party saying that during a debate with an audience, or a teacher saying it to a pupil in a somewhat informal atmosphere.
So the meaning of “pub quiz” is a more specific subset of “pop quiz”, but the term suggests its meaning more readily, which is why I could see people who really did mean “pop quiz” corrupting it that way.
“So the meaning of “pub quiz” is a more specific subset of “pop quiz”, but the term suggests its meaning more readily, which is why I could see people who really did mean “pop quiz” corrupting it that way.”
A pub quiz isn’t really a type of pop quiz. A pub quiz is organised and advertised, the contestants compete in teams and pay entrance money, there are prizes, answer sheets, scoreboards, and it takes a good two or three hours (and many pints of beer, usually). So it doesn’t have any of the spontaneity or rapidity of a pop quiz as you describe them. In Ireland it’s more often called a “table quiz” (because each team of four sits at a table).
Two different things:
In the USA, a Pop Quiz is a surprise test. Your teacher gives you a test with no warning. It is a small test (a Quiz), rather than a long exam.
In England, they have Pub Quizes. These are Jeopardy-style contests for drinking pub patrons, held in pubs. One night (say Tuesday), they have Pub Quizes, and the next night they have Karaoke, or Ladies’ Night, or Bingo, some such. No bars in the USA ever have such contests, as far as I know. Americans are unfamiliar with the concept.
Apparently Britons are unfamiliar with the Pop Quiz concept. This is a great example of why Americans never should say, “fanny” in England, and why Britons never should say, “twat” in America. We do not understand one another, and we do not understand that we do not understand one another.
Last edited by Tom Neely (2007-12-07 23:54:40)
I know one bar in America that has an authentic “pub quiz” every Sunday evening, based on the British model. It’s “Merlins Rest” (no apostrophe), on Lake Street in Minneapolis. See http://merlinsrest.com/.
Of course, one exception doesn’t invalidate the general rule: Americans are unfamiliar with the concept.
I’ve seen the game shows in bars, but I don’t know that most Americans would call them “pub quizzes” unless they were influenced by labeling or marketing that came along w/ the game to the American installation.
I’m wondering if perhaps what AP hear truly was an eggcorn? How did the people you heard, use that term, AP?