The NonDocumentTypeChildNode.previousElementSibling read-only property returns the Element immediately prior to the specified one in its parent's children list, or null if the specified element is the first one in the list.


prevNode = elementNodeReference.previousElementSibling;


<div id="div-01">Here is div-01</div>
<div id="div-02">Here is div-02</div>
<li>This is a list item</li>
<li>This is another list item</li>
<div id="div-03">Here is div-03</div>

  let el = document.getElementById('div-03').previousElementSibling;
  document.write('<p>Siblings of div-03</p><ol>');
  while (el) {
    document.write('<li>' + el.nodeName + '</li>');
    el = el.previousElementSibling;

This example outputs the following into the page when it loads:

Siblings of div-03

   1. LI
   2. LI
   3. DIV
   4. DIV


Polyfill for Internet Explorer 8

This property is unsupported prior to IE9, so the following snippet can be used to add support to IE8:

// Source:
if(!("previousElementSibling" in document.documentElement)){
  Object.defineProperty(Element.prototype, "previousElementSibling", {
    get: function(){
      var e = this.previousSibling;
      while(e && 1 !== e.nodeType)
        e = e.previousSibling;
      return e;

Polyfill for Internet Explorer 9+ and Safari

// Source:
(function (arr) {
  arr.forEach(function (item) {
    if (item.hasOwnProperty('previousElementSibling')) {
    Object.defineProperty(item, 'previousElementSibling', {
      configurable: true,
      enumerable: true,
      get: function () {
        let el = this;
        while (el = el.previousSibling) {
          if (el.nodeType === 1) {
            return el;
        return null;
      set: undefined
})([Element.prototype, CharacterData.prototype]);


Specification Status Comment
The definition of 'NonDocumentTypeChildNode.previousElementSibling' in that specification.
Living Standard Splitted the ElementTraversal interface in ChildNode, ParentNode, and NonDocumentTypeChildNode. This method is now defined on the former.
The Element and CharacterData interfaces implemented the new interface.
Element Traversal Specification
The definition of 'ElementTraversal.previousElementSibling' in that specification.
Obsolete Added its initial definition to the ElementTraversal pure interface and use it on Element.

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also