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The negation CSS pseudo-class, :not(X), is a functional notation taking a simple selector X as an argument. It matches an element that is not represented by the argument. X must not contain another negation selector.

The specificity of the :not pseudo-class is the specificity of its argument. The :not pseudo-class does not add to the selector specificity, unlike other pseudo-classes.

  • Useless selectors can be written using this pseudo-class. For example, :not(*) matches any element which is not any element, so the rule will never be applied.
  • It is possible to rewrite other rules. E.g. foo:not(bar) will match the same element as the simpler foo. Nevertheless the specificity of the first one is higher.
  • :not(foo){} will match anything that isn't foo, including <html> and <body>.
  • This selector only applies to one element; you cannot use it to exclude all ancestors. For instance, body :not(table) a will still apply to links inside of a table, since <tr> will match with the :not() part of the selector.


:not(selector) { style properties }


Usage example

p:not(.classy) { color: red; }
body :not(p) { color: green; }

Given the above CSS and the HTML below...

<p>Some text.</p>
<p class="classy">Some other text.</p>
<span>One more text<span>

You get output like this:


Specification Status Comment
Selectors Level 4
The definition of ':not()' in that specification.
Working Draft Extends its argument to allow some non-simple selectors.
Selectors Level 3
The definition of ':not()' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 1.0 1.0 (1.7 or earlier) 9.0 9.5 3.2
Extended arguments Not supported Not supported Not supported Not supported Not supported
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support 2.1 1.0 (1) 9.0 10.0 3.2
Extended arguments Not supported Not supported Not supported Not supported Not supported


Document Tags and Contributors

Last updated by: teoli,