<var>: The Variable element

The <var> HTML element 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.

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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-style: normal;


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>


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 {
    bold 15px "Courier",
    "Courier New",



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

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


Technical summary

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.
Implicit ARIA role No corresponding role
Permitted ARIA roles Any
DOM interface HTMLElement


Browser compatibility

Desktop Mobile
Chrome Edge Firefox Internet Explorer Opera Safari WebView Android Chrome Android Firefox for Android Opera Android Safari on IOS Samsung Internet
var 1 12 1 Yes 15 ≤4 4.4 18 4 14 ≤3.2 1.0

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