HTML <cite> Tag

The <cite> tag defines the title of creative work, books, paintings, television programs, websites, etc.

Use the <blockquote> element to define long quotes, and the <q> element to define short ones.

According to the W3C specification, a reference to a creative work can contain the name of the work’s author. Whereas, the WHATWG specification claims the opposite: that the name should never be included.

Use the cite attribute on the element if you need to include a reference to the source of the quoted material contained within a <q> or <blockquote> element.

In general, the text inside the <cite> is displayed in italics, by default. If you want to avoid this, you can apply the CSS font-style property to <cite>.


The <cite> tag comes in pairs. The content is written between the opening (<cite>) and closing (</cite>) tags.

Example of the HTML <cite> tag:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <title>Title of the document</title>
    <p>Michelangelo sculpted <cite>David</cite> between 1501 and 1504</p>


cite exemple


The <cite> tag also supports the Global Attributes and the Event Attributes.

How to style <cite> tag?

Common properties to alter the visual weight/emphasis/size of text in <cite> tag:

  • CSS font-style property sets the style of the font. normal | italic | oblique | initial | inherit.
  • CSS font-family property specifies a prioritized list of one or more font family names and/or generic family names for the selected element.
  • CSS font-size property sets the size of the font.
  • CSS font-weight property defines whether the font should be bold or thick.
  • CSS text-transform property controls text case and capitalization.
  • CSS text-decoration property specifies the decoration added to text, and is a shorthand property for text-decoration-line, text-decoration-color, text-decoration-style.

Coloring text in <cite> tag:

  • CSS color property describes the color of the text content and text decorations.
  • CSS background-color property sets the background color of an element.

Text layout styles for <cite> tag:

  • CSS text-indent property specifies the indentation of the first line in a text block.
  • CSS text-overflow property specifies how overflowed content that is not displayed should be signalled to the user.
  • CSS white-space property specifies how white-space inside an element is handled.
  • CSS word-break property specifies where the lines should be broken.

Other properties worth looking at for <cite> tag:

Browser support

chrome edge firefox safari opera

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