Like other dictionaries, the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) is arranged alphabetically by headword, from A to Z. What is different about DARE is that it shows where people use the words that are included. We all know, for example, that Americans have many names for the kind of sandwich that includes meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, etc., served in a long bun. What DARE can tell you (and can often illustrate through the use of maps based on fieldwork) is where the words hero, hoagie, grinder, sub, torpedo, Cuban, etc. are the local terms for this sandwich. It can also tell you where people use the words darning needle, ear cutter, eye stitcher, mosquito (or skeeter) hawk, sewing needle, snake doctor, or snake feeder (among other terms) for a dragonfly.
And what about the words people use for the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street? Boulevard, devil strip, grass plot, neutral ground, parking, parking strip, parkway, terrace, tree bank, tree belt, and tree lawn are just a few of them.
DARE can tell you where people might live if their favorite card games are euchre, five hundred, schafskopf, sheepshead, or sixty-three; or where Americans eat apple pandowdy, lutefisk, or rivel; or where people are from if they live in dog trots, railroad flats, salt boxes, or shotgun houses.
The language of our everyday lives is captured in DARE, along with expressions our grandparents used but our children will never know. Based on interviews with thousands of Americans across the country, as well as on newspapers, histories, novels, diaries, letters, government documents, and other written sources, the Dictionary of American Regional English presents our language in its infinite variety. Word lovers of all stripes will delight not just in the entry words, but also in the quotations that illustrate their use. Open the pages of DARE and browse:you'll be amazed by the treasures of our language as it reflects the richness and diversity of our culture.Four volumes of DARE, including extensive introductory matter and letters A through Sk-, have been published (1985-2002), to the acclaim of scholarly and lay reviewers alike. Volume V, containing the remainder of the alphabet, will appear in March 2012. An online version will be available, planned for 2013.