HTML <dl> Tag

Topic: HTML5 Tags Reference« Prev|Next »


The <dl> (short for definition list) tag specifies a definition list. It is a list of terms with their associated definitions. A common use for this element is to implement a glossary.

Definition lists vary only slightly from other types of lists in that list items consist of two parts: a term and a description.

  • The term is given by the <dt> element and can only contains inline-level elements.
  • The description is given with a <dd> element that can contains block-level elements.

The following table summarizes the usages context and the version history of this tag.

Placement: Block
Content: <dt> and <dd>
Start/End Tag: Start tag: required, End tag: required
Version: HTML 2, 3.2, 4, 4.01, 5


The basic syntax of the <dl> tag is given with:

HTML / XHTML: <dl> ... </dl>

The example below shows the <dl> tag in action.

  • <dl>
  •     <dt>term1</dt>
  •     <dd>– definition1</dd>
  •     <dt>term2</dt>
  •     <dd>– definition2</dd>
  • </dl>

Tag-Specific Attributes

The <dl> tag doesn't have any specific attribute.

Global Attributes

Like all other HTML tags, the <dl> tag supports the global attributes in HTML5.

Event Attributes

The <dl> tag also supports the event attributes in HTML5.

Browser Compatibility

The <dl> tag is supported in all major modern browsers.

Browsers Icon

Basic Support—

  • Firefox 1+
  • Google Chrome 1+
  • Internet Explorer 2+
  • Apple Safari 1+
  • Opera 2.1+

Further Reading

See tutorial on: HTML Lists.

Related tags: <dt>, <dd>.


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