The descendant combinator — typically represented by a single space ( ) character — combines two selectors such that elements matched by the second selector are selected if they have an ancestor element matching the first selector. Selectors that utilize a descendant combinator are called descendant selectors.

/* List items that are descendants of the "my-things" list */
ul.my-things li {
  margin: 2em;
}

The descendant combinator is technically one or more CSS white space characters — the space character and/or one of four control characters: carriage return, form feed, new line, and tab characters — between two selectors in the absence of another combinator. Additionally, the white space characters of which the combinator is comprised may contain any number of CSS comments.

Syntax

selector1 selector2 { /* property declarations */ }

Example

CSS

li {
  list-style-type: disc;
}

li li {
  list-style-type: circle;
}

HTML

<ul>
  <li>
    <div>Item 1</div>
    <ul>
      <li>Subitem A</li>
      <li>Subitem B</li>
    </ul>
  </li>
  <li>
    <div>Item 2</div>
    <ul>
      <li>Subitem A</li>
      <li>Subitem B</li>
    </ul>
  </li>
</ul>

Result

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
Selectors Level 3
The definition of 'descendant combinator' in that specification.
Recommendation  
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1)
The definition of 'descendant selectors' in that specification.
Recommendation  
CSS Level 1
The definition of 'contextual selectors' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support1121 Yes Yes Yes
A >> B syntax No No No No No10
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support Yes Yes Yes4 Yes Yes Yes
A >> B syntax No No No No No10 No

Document Tags and Contributors

 Last updated by: kayhuba,