The HTML Citation Element (<cite>) represents a reference to a creative work. It must include the title of a work or a URL reference, which may be in an abbreviated form according to the conventions used for the addition of citation metadata.

Usage Notes:

  • A creative work may include a book, a paper, an essay, a poem, a score, a song, a script, a film, a TV show, a game, a sculpture, a painting, a theater production, a play, an opera, a musical, an exhibition, a legal case report, a computer program, a web site, a web page, a blog post or comment, a forum post or comment, a tweet, a written or oral statement, etc.
  • The W3C spec states that a reference to a creative work may include the author's name, while WHATWG has declared that it may not include a person's name under any circumstances.
  • Use the cite attribute on a <blockquote> or <q> element to reference an online resource for a source.
Content categories Flow content, phrasing content, palpable content.
Permitted content Phrasing content.
Tag omission None, both the starting and ending tag are mandatory.
Permitted parent elements Any element that accepts phrasing content.
DOM interface HTMLElement Up to Gecko 1.9.2 (Firefox 4) inclusive, Firefox implements the HTMLSpanElement interface for this element.


This element only includes the global attributes.


More information can be found in <cite>[ISO-0000]</cite>.

The HTML above outputs:

More information can be found in [ISO-0000].


To avoid the default italic style from being used for the <cite> element use the CSS font-style property.


Specification Status Comment
WHATWG HTML Living Standard
The definition of '<cite>' in that specification.
Living Standard  
The definition of '<cite>' in that specification.
HTML 4.01 Specification
The definition of '<cite>' in that specification.

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support (Yes) 1.0 (1.7 or earlier) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support (Yes) 1.0 (1.0) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)

See also

  • The element <blockquote> for long quotations.
  • The element <q> for inline quotations.

Document Tags and Contributors

 Last updated by: Sheppy,