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The template {{defn}} is used in template-structured glossaries to create definitions of terms. It is a wrapper for <dd>...</dd>, the description list definition HTML element. The template has a mnemonic redirect at {{dd}}.

Basic usage:


Links, inline templates, reference citations, wikimarkup styles, etc., can be applied to the definition. Technically, the | part is optional if the content of the definition does not contain the "=" character, but as any editors can add content, including templates with this character in them, it is always safest to explicitly name the parameter. The |1= parameter can also be called |defn= for those who don't care for numeric parameters.

  • This will work: {{defn|1=The concept that the mass of a body is a measure of its energy content, expressed by the formula E=MC²}}
  • This will work: {{defn|defn=The concept that the mass of a body is a measure of its energy content, expressed by the formula E=MC²}}
  • This will fail: {{defn|The concept that the mass of a body is a measure of its energy content, expressed by the formula E=MC²}}

More complex usage is typically:

{{defn|defn=Definition. |no=# |term=term_id}}

where |no=# gives a leading number for a definition in a list of definitions, and |term=term_id provides the name of the term used in the {{Term}} template to which this definition pertains.

Images, hatnotes and other content

Images, hatnotes and other "add-in" content intended to immediately follow the {{term}} must be used at the top of (inside) the first {{defn}} of the {{term}}. They cannot be placed between the {{term}} and {{defn}} or it will break the glossary markup. Images can, of course, be placed elsewhere within the {{defn}}, and bottom-notes like {{more}} can be placed at the ends of but inside {{defn}}s.

{{term|1=colour ball |content= colour ball {{anchor|coloured ball|coloured balls|colour|colours|color ball}}}}
[[File:Set of Snookerballs.png|thumb|right|150px|A complete set of snooker balls, with six '''colour balls'''.]]
{{ghat|1=Also '''coloured ball(s)''', '''colour(s)'''; American spelling '''color''' sometimes also used.}}
In [[snooker]], any of the {{cuegloss|object ball}}s that are not {{cuegloss|red ball|reds}}.

colour ball
A complete set of snooker balls, with six colour balls.
Also coloured ball(s), colour(s); American spelling color sometimes also used.

In snooker, any of the object balls that are not reds.

Multiple definitions for one term

If a single {{term}} has multiple definitions, they are simply numbered with the |2=parameter explicitly. Think of the parameter as standing for "2nd or later definition". You can also call it |no=, if you prefer (from "No.") Example:

{{defn|1=Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. |no=1}}
{{defn|1=Consectetur adipisicing elit. |no=2}}

1.  Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.
2.  Consectetur adipisicing elit.

Because of the uneven length of definitions, it is usually more convenient to put the |2= before the |1= description:

{{defn |2=1 |1=Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.}}


{{defn |no=1 |1=Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.}}

This is a very robust method, because it permits complex content like block quotations, nested lists, {{main}} cross-reference hatnotes, and other block-level markup inside each definition. The definitions can also be independently linked.

Use of a hatnote with a numbered definition requires manual numbering or it will look weird:

{{term|1=blackjack|content=blackjack{{anchor|Blackjack}} }}
1.&nbsp;&nbsp;A card game in which players attempt to approach 21 but not exceed it.

{{defn|no=2|1=The best possible hand in the game of blackjack, made up of an ace and a card valued at 10 (namely, 10, J, Q, K). }}

Making the definition independently linkable

To enable a link directly to a specific definition, you can manually add an {{anchor}} template, or name the definition with its {{term}} or an abbreviation thereof (must be unique on the page for each term, but should be the same for multiple definitions of the same term). This is done with the |term= parameter; it must begin with an alphabetic character (a–z, A–Z), and may include digits (0–9), hyphens ("-"), and underscores ("_"). This will produce a #-link target ID in the form term-defn#, where the # is the number of the definition (see above), defaulting to "1". Example:

{{defn|no=1 |1=Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. |term=blubbermonster}}
{{defn|no=2 |1=Consectetur adipisicing elit. |term=blubbermonster}}
{{term|1=snorkelweasel (noun)}}
{{defn|1=Ut enim ad minim veniam |term=snorkelweasel_noun}}

1.  Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.
2.  Consectetur adipisicing elit.
snorkelweasel (noun)
Ut enim ad minim veniam

 HTML output:

<dl class="glossary">
<dt class="glossary" id="blubbermonster" style="font-size: 110%; margin-top: 0.5em;"><dfn>blubbermonster</dfn></dt>
<dd class="glossary" id="blubbermonster-defn1">1.  Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.</dd>
<dd class="glossary" id="blubbermonster-defn2">2.  Consectetur adipisicing elit.</dd>
<dt class="glossary" id="snorkelweasel_.28noun.29" style="font-size: 110%; margin-top: 0.5em;"><dfn>snorkelweasel (noun)</dfn></dt>
<dd class="glossary" id="snorkelweasel_noun-defn1">Ut enim ad minim veniam</dd>

The IDs blubbermonster-defn1, blubbermonster-defn2, and snorkelweasel_noun-defn1 are all individually linkable, e.g. as [[Glossary of weird terms#blubbermonster-defn1]]. This is especially useful for cross-references within the glossary, e.g. See also [[#blubbermonster-defn2|"blubbermonster", sense 2]].


There is no |lang= parameter, as on English Wikipedia all definitions are necessarily in English. For uses of glossary markup for non-glossary purposes in which some content may be in a foreign language, use language templates. E.g. in a list of film title translations formatted using glossary markup:

{{term|1=Titles of La Vie en Rose in various languages |content=Titles of ''[[La Vie en Rose]]'' in various languages}}
{{defn|1=French: ''{{lang|fr|La Vie en Rose}}''}}
{{defn|1=English: ''Life in Pink''}}


This shows both a very simple and a rather complex instance:



{{defn|1=Definition of term 1.}}

{{term|term=arglefarst |content=''{{lang|xx|arglefarst}}''{{anchors|argle-farst|argle farst}} }}
{{defn|no=1 |defn=
Beginning of first definition of term 2
{{bq|1=Block quotation in first definition of term 2.}}
Conclusion of first definition of term 2.

{{defn|no=2 |defn=Second definition of term 2.}}


Definition of term 1.
1.  Beginning of first definition of term 2

Block quotation in first definition of term 2.

Conclusion of first definition of term 2.

2.  Second definition of term 2.

Applying CSS styles to the definition

Applying CSS styles to the definition The |style= parameter will pass CSS styling on to the <dd> element, e.g. |style=font-family:serif; or whatever. This feature is rarely if ever needed in articles, but can be useful for things like matching custom user page style.



See also

  • {{gloss}} – Half of a template pair; uses <dl> with a class to open the structured glossary definition list that {{glossend}} closes.
  • {{glossend}} – The other half of this template pair; uses </dl> to close the definition list that {{gloss}} opens.
  • {{term}} – The glossary term to which the {{defn}} definition applies; a customized <dt> with a class and an embedded <dfn>.
  • {{defn}} – The definition that applies to the {{term}}; uses <dd> with a class
  • {{ghat}} – a hatnote template for just above the main content of the first definition
  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Glossaries