Busy B’s at ‘DARE’

dareWhat’s new at the Dictionary of American Regional English?

Boneless cats, for one. Badgers and back-budgers. Beach-walks, bodegas, (cellar) bugs, and beelers.

The six-volume dictionary has a continuing updated online presence now, thanks to support from friends who saw the benefit of such updating in the print version — and thanks to some additional grants and very strict budgeting. Its postprint era is just beginning, but a sampling of new and updated entries is now available at the dictionary website.

The new entries, like previous ones, have examples of actual usage along with regional labels, pronunciations, and definitions. They tell us, for example, that in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, to budge is to push in line ahead of others, and to back-budge is to push in behind someone. Someone who does this is a budger, of course. Six generous quotations illustrate this usage.

And how about a beeler? That, we are told, is “an attractively wild or mischievous person, especially a child” — in other words, someone who might be a budger — but only in Green Bay, Wis. Useful to know next time you visit a Packers game with your attractive kids. But they’ve never heard of it in Milwaukee or Madison.

Bodega is another word with its strongest presence in one city — New York this time, of course; from Puerto Rican Spanish; defined as “a small neighborhood grocery store … commonly, a Hispanic one.”

The beach-walk is a kind of rubber sandal, chiefly southern California. And there’s a kind of bug, a cellar bug in the southern Appalachians, known elsewhere as a sow bug.

Beyond the Bs, new entries include Old Gappy, a nickname for a crosscut saw, most often heard in the South; mop sauce for a barbecue basting sauce, originally Texas, now more widespread, and sty-baked, meaning “very dirty,” heard in Rhode Island.

And a boneless cat? Well, it’s a little complicated, so look it up yourself. Did I mention that you’ll also find 19 revised entries there, as well as the  19 new ones? Don’t miss this chance for a free preview.



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