Check out “Regional Dictionary Tracks the Funny Things We Say” about the Dictionary of American Regional English. According to Celeste Headlee:
The DARE project, as it is known, was initiated in the 1950s by Frederic Cassidy, a well-known linguist who sent field workers out across the country in “word wagons” to interview people. Cassidy’s catalogers talked to nearly 3,000 people over six years, making recordings along the way in order to capture pronunciations.
The first volume of the DARE was released in 1975, with additional volumes following in time. But the final volume still had not been published by the time of Cassidy’s death in 2000, and the linguist’s tombstone reads, “On to Z!”
Now, after five decades of research, “S to Z” of the DARE will be published next year. Joan Hall, the book’s chief editor, says the dictionary is unique because it tells us how we speak, rather than how to speak.
Here are some examples of the words you’d find in DARE:
honeyfuggle (v) To swindle or dupe; to intend to cheat or trick. (Usage: scattered)
hookem-snivey (adj) Deceitful, sneaky. (Usage: scattered)
mulligrubs (n) A condition of despondency or ill temper; a vague or imaginary unwellness. (Usage: scattered, but especially the South)
Round these parts, popular regionalisms include packy (liquor store), scrod (whitefish that may be haddock or may be cod), bubbler (water fountain), frappe (milkshake—a milkshake is something else entirely), and my personal favorite, wicked (totally exceptional). What’s your favorite regionalism?
Hat tip to our friends at Ducks and Drakes.