Quoz was the "whatever" of the 19th century.

From Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841):

Many years ago the favourite phrase (for, though but a monosyllable, it was a phrase in itself) was Quoz. This odd word took the fancy of the multitude in an extraordinary degree, and very soon acquired an almost boundless meaning. When vulgar wit wished to mark its incredulity, and raise a laugh at the same time, there was no resource so sure as this popular piece of slang. When a man was asked a favour which he did not choose to grant, he marked his sense of the suitor's unparalleled presumption by exclaiming Quoz! When a mischievous urchin wished to annoy a passenger, and create mirth for his comrades, he looked him in the face, and cried out Quoz! and the exclamation never failed in its object. When a disputant was desirous of throwing a doubt upon the veracity of his opponent, and getting summarily rid of an argument which he could not overturn, he uttered the word Quoz, with a contemptuous curl of his lip and an impatient shrug of his shoulders. The universal monosyllable conveyed all his meaning, and not only told his opponent that he lied, but that he erred egregiously if he thought that any one was such a nincompoop as to believe him. Every alehouse resounded with Quoz; every street-corner was noisy with it, and every wall for miles around was chalked with it.

But, like all other earthly things, Quoz had its season, and passed away as suddenly as it arose, never again to be the pet and the idol of the populace.

     Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 15, 2017
     Category: Languages | Slang | Nineteenth Century

Fascinating to read the history of "Quoz" largely because I had seen the word before. I have in my bookcase "Roads to Quoz - An American Mosey" by William Least Heat-Moon. Heat-Moon defined the word "Quoz" as "things strange, incongruous, or peculiar." It was great to learn the details of the word's history from your post.
Posted by Oskar Tripp on 04/15/17 at 03:19 PM
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