Definition List

A list in which each item consists of two parts: a word, phrase, term, graphic, chemical structure, or equation paired with one of more descriptions, discussions, explanations, or definitions of it


The definition <def> part of an item in a two-part (definition) list need not be a “definition” in the strict dictionary sense of that word. Such a definition could be a discussion, explanation, expansion, or something that tells the reader about the <term>. When a <def-list> is within a <glossary> element, the definitions are assumed to be real definitions.


continued-from Continued From
id Identifier
list-content List Content
list-type Type of List
prefix-word Prefix Word (For a List Item)
specific-use Specific Use

Related Elements

A <def-list> may have a <title> naming the entire list, followed by optional headings for terms and their definitions. <term-head> contains the heading over the first (term) column, and <def-head> contains the heading for the second (definition) column; neither serves as a container element for terms or definitions. Individual <term>s and their <def>s are paired in <def-item>s.

Content Model

<!ELEMENT  def-list     %def-list-model;                             >

Expanded Content Model

(title?, term-head?, def-head?, def-item+)


The following, in order:

This element may be contained in:

<app>, <bio>, <body>, <boxed-text>, <chem-struct>, <fig>, <glossary>, <license-p>, <named-content>, <p>, <sec>, <styled-content>, <table-wrap>, <td>, <th>


  <def-item><term id="G1">PAP I</term>
  <def><p>poly(A)polymerase I</p></def>
  <term id="G2">PNPase</term>
  <def><p>polynucleotide phosphorylase</p></def>