Definition Lists

HTML and XHTML also support a list style entirely different from the ordered and unordered lists we’ve discussed so far: definition lists. Like the entries you find in a dictionary or encyclopedia, complete with text, pictures, and other multimedia elements, the definition list is the ideal way to present a glossary, list of terms, or other name/value list.

The <dl> Tag

The definition list is enclosed by the <dl> and </dl> tags. Within the tags, each item in a definition list is composed of two parts: a term followed by its definition or explanation. Instead of <li>, each item name in a <dl> list is marked with the <dt> tag, followed by the item’s definition or explanation marked by the <dd> tag.

Unless you change the display attributes with style-sheet rules, browsers typically render the item or term name at the left margin and render the definition or explanation below it and indented. If the definition terms are very short (typically less than three characters), the browser may choose to place the first portion of the definition on the same line as the term. See how the source XHTML definition list below gets displayed by Netscape in Figure 7-8:

<h3>Common Kumquat Parasites</h3> <dl> <dt>Leaf ...

Get HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, 5th Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.