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dt – description list topic

This article is In Progress.

W3C Recommendation


For technical reasons, the title of this article is not the text used to call this API. Instead, use dt


The dt element indicates a definition term within a definition list (dl).

A dt (topic) is usually followed by one or more dd (definition) elements. Several consecutive dt are attributed to the dd element that immediately follows the group.

Overview Table

DOM Interface HTMLElement
Permitted contents flow content, but with no header, footer, sectioning content, or heading content descendants.
Permitted parents dl.


View live exampleThe example shows a simple definition list with two item/description pairs.


  <dd>A popular hot drink.</dd>
  <dt>Coca Cola</dt>
  <dd>One of the leading brands of a popular cold fizzy drink.</dd>

View live exampleThe example shows a definition list with a single item but multiple descriptions for that item.


  <dd>A popular hot drink.</dd>
  <dd>A mid brown colour</dd>
  <dd>A common social invitation</dd>

View live exampleThe example shows a definition list with a single description and multiple items fitting that description.


  <dt>Vimto (in the North of England)</dt>
  <dd>A popular hot drink.</dd>

Typical browser default CSS properties for the dt element.


display: block;


The dt element itself, when used in a dl element, does not indicate that its contents are a term being defined, but this can be indicated using the dfn element.

While HTMLDTElement is the defined DOM interface for this element, most browsers currently use HTMLElement instead.

Related specifications

Specification Status Related Changes
HTML 5.1 W3C Working Draft
HTML 5 W3C Recommendation
HTML 4.01 W3C Recommendation

See also

Other articles

External resources


This article contains content originally from external sources.

Portions of this content come from the Microsoft Developer Network: [Windows Internet Explorer API reference Article]