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English Language and Literature


...refers to an alphabetical list of items that fall into a certain category.

For example, dictionaries may comprise: 
          - words with definitions
          - authors with biographical information
          - types of things - like literary terms or theories - with brief explanations

Try This!

Search the library homepage for dictionaries relating to literature.

In the search box, type litera* dictionary.

Search. Then, in the left-hand sidebar under Item Types, click on Books.

HINT: The asterisk * is a "truncation" symbol.  It allows you to search for terms that have the same root but different endings.  For example, litera* will return literature, literatures and literary.

HINT: In the search above, try using encyclopedia, or handbook, or guide instead of dictionary.



Oxford English Dictionary (OED) "The Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, both present and past. It traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books."

Middle English Compendium  Provides access to and interconnectivity among three major Middle English electronic resources: an electronic version of the Middle English dictionary, a Hyperbibliography of Middle English prose and verse, based on MED bibliographies, and a Corpus of Middle English prose and verse, as well as links to an associated network of electronic resources."

Lexicons of Early Modern English  "Lexicons of Early Modern English (LEME) is a historical database of monolingual, bilingual, and polyglot dictionaries, lexical encyclopedias, hard-word glossaries, spelling lists, and lexically-valuable treatises surviving in print or manuscript from the Tudor, Stuart, Caroline, Commonwealth, and Restoration periods."

Dictionary of Old English, Old English Corpus  The Dictionary of Old English electronic corpus is a complete record of surviving Old English except for some variant manuscripts of individual texts. There are 3047 texts in the corpus.

Dictionary of Old English (A-H)
The Dictionary of Old English (DOE) defines the vocabulary of the first six centuries (600 - 1150 A.D.) of the English language, using today's most advanced technology. The DOE complements the Middle English Dictionary (which covers the period 1100 - 1500 A.D.) and the Oxford English Dictionary (which documents the development of the English language to the present), the three together providing a full description of the vocabulary of English.

The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (2008) Provides clear, concise definitions of literary terms covering drama, versification, rhetoric, and literary history.

The Routledge Dictionary of Literary Terms (2006)   

A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory​ (2013)   

Gale Dictionary of Literary Biography

Keywords for Children's Literature

Below you will find some examples of print dictionaries. Many more are available in the library. Included here is a handbook and book with "key concepts." These are very similar in organization to dictionaries.

A Handbook to Literature, 11th Ed. (2009)

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (2005)

Key Concepts in Literary Theory (2014)

Finding Print...

To locate print dictionaries when you know the title:
-Go to the Library Homepage and type the title in the search box. Search.
-In the left-hand sidebar, under Item Types, click on Books.
-Scroll to find your title.
-Click on the title to find the call number.

Look carefully at the record. Some print sources are in the Reference Collection on the 1st Floor, TFDL. These reference books cannot be checked out. Some print reference sources are located in the main library stacks (i.e. shelves); most of these can be checked out.

The dictionaries listed above are only a sample of the many in the library.