Use authoritative dictionaries and reference sources.
Oxford English Dictionary.
The OED presents the words that have formed the English vocabulary from the time of the earliest records down to the present day, with all the relevant facts concerning their form, sense-history, pronunciation, and etymology. It embraces not only the standard language of literature and conversation, but also the main technical vocabulary, and a large measure of dialectical usage and slang. Second edition available in print in Olin Reference PE1625 M98 1989
Literary Criticism & Terminology
Abrams, M.H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 11th ed. Boston : Wadsworth Cengage Learning, c2015. Olin Reference PN41 A184 2015
"For clarity, concision and elegance Abrams has few peers and no superiors; plain spoken but not simplistic, his essays on critical methods are the best short treatments in the business." (Choice)
Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism
A full-text searchable database of articles on individual critics and theorists, critical and theoretical schools and movements, and the critical and theoretical innovations of specific countries and historical periods. Each entry includes a selective primary and secondary bibliography. Paper edition (2005) in Olin Reference: Olin Reference PN81 J554 2005 +
Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms
Includes "coverage of traditional drama, versification, rhetoric, and literary history, as well as updated and extended advice on recommended further reading and a pronunciation guide to more than 200 terms."
Cambridge History of Literary Criticism: the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013.
Covers the field of literary criticism between 1830 and 1914. In over thirty essays written from a broad range of perspectives, scholars examine the growth of literary criticism as an institution, the major critical developments in diverse national traditions and in different genres, as well as the major movements of realism, naturalism, symbolism and decadence.
Multidisciplinary Reference Sources