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HTML <abbr> Tag

The HTML <abbr> tag is a specialized tool used to define abbreviations or acronyms within web content. It plays a vital role in enhancing the readability and accessibility of a webpage by providing clear definitions for shortened forms of words or phrases.

Example Usage

Here’s a simple example of how an abbreviation can be marked up:

<abbr title="Hypertext Markup Language">HTML</abbr> 

When a user hovers over “HTML,” a tooltip with the full description “Hypertext Markup Language” will appear.

Definition and Usage

The <abbr> tag is used to encapsulate an abbreviation or acronym, and the “title” attribute is used to provide the full description. This helps in creating a more user-friendly experience, especially for those who may not be familiar with specific abbreviations.

Importance in Accessibility

The <abbr> tag is not just a stylistic tool; it’s essential for accessibility. Screen readers can interpret the “title” attribute, providing a full description to visually impaired users. This ensures that the content is accessible to a broader audience.

Supported Browser

The <abbr> tag enjoys robust support across all major browsers. Here’s a detailed table showing the compatibility:

Browser Support Version
Chrome Yes All
Firefox Yes All
Safari Yes All
Edge Yes All
Internet Explorer Yes 9+

This widespread support ensures that the <abbr> tag can be used confidently across different platforms and devices.


Global Attributes

The <abbr> tag can be combined with various global attributes in HTML, such as class, id, style, etc. These attributes allow for further customization and control over the appearance and behaviour of the abbreviation.

Event Attributes

Event attributes can also be used with the <abbr> tag, enabling specific actions to be defined when certain events are triggered, such as onclick, onmouseover, etc. This adds interactivity to the abbreviation.

Examples and Customization

The <abbr> tag can be used in conjunction with other HTML tags like <dfn> (definition element). Here’s an example:

<abbr title="Cascading Style Sheets">CSS</abbr> can also be used with <dfn title="Definition">dfn</dfn>. 

Default CSS Settings

Most browsers will display the <abbr> tag as an inline element. You can further customize its appearance using CSS:

abbr {   display: inline;   font-style: italic; } 


The HTML <abbr> tag is a versatile and essential tool in web development. It not only enhances the readability of the content but also ensures accessibility for all users. Its compatibility across major browsers, combined with the flexibility to customize through global and event attributes, makes it a valuable asset for web developers.

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting, understanding the <abbr> tag and its various applications will undoubtedly enrich your HTML coding experience.