An AP writer profiles our wicked awesome Dictionary of American Regional English, published in conjunction with a dedicated editorial team headed by Joan Houston Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. DARE is the book that can tell you, among other things, where your vaguely Italian-themed sandwich is a "hoagie" and where it becomes a "hero" or "grinder."
You will learn from the article that DARE founding editor Frederic Cassidy was an awesome guy -- in 1965 he sent researchers to over a thousand US communities to record the inhabitants' speech. When they returned with the data, he and his editorial team set to work producing four mammoth volumes that, considering that they are at heart reference books, make incredibly fascinating reading (no less a wordsmith than Tom Wolfe says DARE is his favorite thing to read). Thirty-five years later, Cassidy died still awaiting completion of the fifth and final volume of DARE, to be published next year. But before Cassidy passed away, he made sure that people would know he kept his eye on the prize -- his tombstone reads "On to Z!"