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The HTML <abbr> element represents an abbreviation and optionally provides a full description for it. If present, the title attribute must contain this full description and nothing else.

Content categories Flow content, phrasing content, palpable content
Permitted content Phrasing content
Tag omission None, both the starting and ending tag are mandatory.
Permitted parents Any element that accepts phrasing content
Permitted ARIA roles Any
DOM Interface HTMLElement

Attributes

This element only includes the global attributes.

Use the title attribute to define the full description of the abbreviation. Many user agents present this as a tooltip.

Note: In languages with grammatical number (especially languages with more than two numbers, like Arabic), use the same grammatical number in your title attribute as inside your <abbr> element.

Examples

<abbr title="Laugh Out Loud">LOL</abbr>
<abbr title="Internationalization">I18N</abbr>

See more in-depth examples in the How to mark abbreviations and make them understandable article.

Default styling

The purpose of this element is purely for the convenience of the author and all browsers display it inline (display: inline) by default, though its default styling varies from one browser to another:

  • Some browsers, like Internet Explorer, do not style it differently than a <span> element.
  • Opera, Firefox, and some others add a dotted underline to the content of the element.
  • A few browsers not only add a dotted underline, but also put it in small caps; to avoid this styling, adding something like font-variant: none in the CSS takes care of this case.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of '<abbr>' in that specification.
Living Standard  
HTML5
The definition of '<abbr>' in that specification.
Recommendation  
HTML 4.01 Specification
The definition of '<abbr>' in that specification.
Recommendation  

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support2 Yes117 Yes Yes
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidIE mobileOpera AndroidiOS Safari
Basic support Yes Yes Yes4 Yes Yes Yes

1. Before Firefox 4, this element implemented the HTMLSpanElement interface instead of the standard HTMLElement interface.

See also