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What Is DARE?

The Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) is a multi-volume reference work that documents words, phrases, and pronunciations that vary from one place to another place across the United States... read more...

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Word Tree

In 1992, DARE founder Frederic G. Cassidy contributed DARE materials for the Word Tree exhibit, which illustrates words that have come into American English from languages all over the world. The exhibit is at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, and is still available for viewing today.

DARE Volumes displayed

The full set of printed Volumes I-VI with the updated book jackets

The Words Count: A Rantum Scoot through DARE exhibition returns to Madison. See more photos.

No more shirking! Check out the National Museum of Language's new online exhibit which features DARE informants from all over the country reading "The Story of Arthur the Rat" along with illustrations like this one. [Illustrations by Andrea Dagmar Swenson Brown and Linda Mitchell Thompson.]

DARE in the Media

15 Regional Words for Vomiting, Angela Tung, Mental Floss, April 12, 2017
You Say EEther, I Say AYEther, Allan Metcalf, Lingua Franca, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 4, 2017
14 Ways of Saying "Drunk" Across the United States, Angela Tung, Mental Floss, March 31, 2017

What are people saying about DARE?

"These dynamic, interactive features make digital DARE an invaluable resource, not only for what it reflects about the lexicon of American Englishes, speakers, regional variation, and language change, but also as a priceless research tool in that every detail down to a gnat's eyebrow has been considered."

Kathryn Remlinger American Speech

“Recently in the language world, something happened that might be described as the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the Fourth of July, New Year’s, three scoops of ice cream, and a new kitten all rolled into one…I’m talking about the fact that the magnificent six volume Dictionary of American Regional English is now available online.”

Martha Barnette “A Way with Words”

“Touring the Dictionary of American Regional English is a road trip of the mind from sea to shining sea. . . . It speaks with authority about American regional speech and has also captured the popular imagination. It is a peerless resource for scholars, but at the same time delivers accurate information about regional vocabulary to laypersons who, until DARE, could not count on access to it.”

Michael Adams, Humanities

“Can a person fall in love with a dictionary? If the work in question is the Dictionary of American Regional English, which has just published its fifth volume, Sl-Z, the answer appears to be yes.”

Heidi Landecker, The Chronicle of Higher Education

“A great project on how Americans speak—make that the great project on how Americans speak—is reaching completion this spring. . . . DARE stands alone as the most exhaustive record of regional speech in America, each page bursting with geographically nuanced information about the country’s diverse lexicon. It’s a joy to page through: Where else would you learn that snuff for chewing is called snoose in the Pacific Northwest, and also goes by the name Swedish condition powder?”

Ben Zimmer, Boston Globe

“For scholars of American English, this volume and the series it completes are a hoard of riches. . . . It is a repository of who we have been as a people, and who we are.”

John E. McIntyre, Baltimore Sun

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