HTML and CSS Reference
their job titles, or a sequence of events and the dates on which they occurred were all common uses of
definition lists. HTML5 has formalized this real-world usage and redefined the definition list as a
description list , suitable for any case where content calls for a listing of name-value groups. You can still
use a dl for a list of terms and definitions, of course.
The dl element is flow content, requires an end tag, and can only contain dt and dd elements as its
children. A single term may have several associated descriptions, or a single description may apply to
several terms grouped before it. The list is segmented wherever a dt immediately follows a dd , marking
the beginning of a new sequence of terms and descriptions.
The dl element doesn't have any required attributes.
There are no optional attributes for the dl element.
The dt element, which can only contain text and/or phrase elements, designates a term or item being
described. A description term (or sequence of terms) is associated with every description that follows it
until a new dt element appears to begin a new sequence, or until the list ends with a </dl> end tag. You
can omit the </dt> end tag if the element is immediately followed by another dt element or a dd element.
There are no required attributes for the dt element.
The dt element doesn't offer any optional attributes.
The dd element contains a description of the dt element (or elements) that immediately precedes it. In the
case of multiple descriptions for a single term, each one should be wrapped in its own dd element. The dd
element is flow content and can contain text or other flow elements. If your description spans several
paragraphs, mark them up as paragraphs ( p ) in a single dd rather than as separate dd s—the entire
contents of one dd element should comprise one description. The dd 's end tag is optional if the next
element is another dd , a dt , or if the next tag is a </dl> end tag.
Listing 4-24 shows the markup for a brief description list. In the example, the first term's description
consists of two paragraphs, whereas the second term has two distinct descriptions.