<var>: The Variable element

The HTML Variable element (<var>) 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.

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


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: bold 15px "Courier", "Courier New", monospace;


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>

The output:

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 {
  font: bold 15px "Courier", "Courier New", monospace;


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

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



Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of '<var>' in that specification.
Living Standard
The definition of '<var>' in that specification.

Browser compatibility

ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
varChrome Full support YesEdge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support YesChrome Android Full support YesFirefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support Yes


Full support
Full support