HTML <dfn> tag

Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope
HTML dfn tag

When writing in HTML, the <dfn> tag, also known as the HTML definition element, is an inline element used to represent the defining instance of a term. This tag has an order of operations of sorts; detailed below. The following sections contain information about this tag, including an example of it in use, and related attributes and browser compatibility.


The <dfn> tag marks the term as being defined, but the actual definition should be given by the surrounding <p> element or definition list group.


This element is unique in that it is a phrase tag, which indicates that a section of text has structural meaning.

Example of <dfn> code

<p><dfn>Computer Hope</dfn> is a computer help website.</p>

Example result

Computer Hope is a computer help website.


Within an HTML tag, an attribute dictates certain aspects of an HTML element. Attributes are made up of a name and value pair. While the <dfn> tag does not have any unique attributes, it does utilize all of the standard attributes.

Additional notes on the usage of the <dfn> tag

The exact value of the term being defined changes based on the following situations:

  1. If the <dfn> tag has a title attribute, then that its definition is the value of that attribute.
  2. If <dfn> has an <abbr> tag with a title attribute, then that its definition is the value of that attribute.
  3. If <dfn> doesn't have either, the text inside its tags is the definition.


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Additional phrase tags

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