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The cite HTML Tag

January 20, 2021


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(Updated on February 20, 2022)

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Welcome to part three of the Uncommon HTML Tag series!

With each article in this series, I will introduce a widely unknown HTML tag, discuss compatibility across browsers and cover some real-world use cases with the element.

The < cite > Tag

The <cite></cite> tag is a semantic element that is used to denote a referenced piece of work, such as a book, an essay, a film, a musical or even a tweet.

Many browsers style the content of a <cite></cite> element in italics by default.

Let's take a look at how it's used!

When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be
celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence,
there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.
First paragraph in
<cite>The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring</cite>
by J. R. R. Tolkien (Chapter 1: A Long-Expected Party).

A visual depiction of what is being written about

Both the opening and closing tags are mandatory and, unlike some of the other HTML tags we've discussed, does not contain any unique attributes (global attributes can be used).

Please note that, according to the MDN Web Docs,

...the W3C specification says that a reference to a creative work, as included within a <cite> element, may include the name of the work’s author. However, the WHATWG specification for <cite> says the opposite: that a person’s name must never be included, under any circumstances.

If you want to play around with the <cite></cite> tag, feel free to fork the pen below!


The <cite></cite> tag is part of the HTML Living Standard and is supported on all major web browsers!

A visual depiction of what is being written about


Thanks for reading! Have you ever used the <cite></cite> tag in a project? Let me know in the comments below!

If you liked this article and want more content like this, read some of my other articles , subscribe to my newsletter and make sure to follow me on Twitter!





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