The HTML Variable element (<var>) represents the name of a variable in a mathematical expression or a programming context. It's typically presented using an italicized version of the current typeface, although that behavior is browser-dependent.

Content categories Flow content, phrasing content, palpable content.
Permitted content Phrasing content
Tag omission Both start and end tags are required
Permitted parents Any element that accepts phrasing content.
Permitted ARIA roles Any
DOM Interface HTMLElement


This element only includes the global attributes

Usage notes

Other elements that are used in contexts in which <var> is commonly used include:

  • <code>: The HTML Code element
  • <kbd>: The HTML Keyboard input element
  • <samp>: The HTML Sample Output element

If you encounter code that is mistakenly using <var> for style purposes rather than semantic purposes, you should either use a <span> with appropriate CSS or, an appropriate semantic element among the following:

Default style

Most browsers apply font-style to "italic" when rendering <var>. This can be overridden in CSS, like this:

var {
  font: bold 15px "Courier", "Courier New", monospace;


Basic example

Here's a simple example, using <var> to denote variable names in a mathematical equation.

<p>A simple equation:
  <var>x</var> = <var>y</var> + 2 </p>

The output:

Overriding the default style

Using CSS, you can override the default style for the <var> element. In this example, variable names are rendered using bold Courier if it's available, otherwise it falls back to the default monospace font.


var {
  font: bold 15px "Courier", "Courier New", monospace;


<p>The variables <var>minSpeed</var> and <var>maxSpeed</var> control
   the minimum and maximum speed of the apparatus in revolutions
   per minute (RPM).</p>

This HTML uses <var> to enclose the names of two variables.



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

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support Yes Yes1 Yes Yes Yes
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support Yes Yes Yes4 Yes Yes Yes

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Last updated by: SphinxKnight,