CSS word-break

The word-break property specifies soft wrap opportunities within words where it is normal and permissible to break lines of text.

The word-break property is similar to the word-wrap property, in that it can create breaks within words, however, the difference is that word-wrap will only break the word for overflow purposes (i.e. if it's too long to fit within the space), whereas word-break allows you to break words even when they could otherwise have wrapped to the next line.

The word-break property is often used in CJK (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) typesetting, where English words are allowed to break between any two letters, rather than only at spaces or hyphenation points. This can result in English words breaking in what might seem (to an English reader) to be a strange place, especially when it could just have easily wrapped to a new line instead.


Possible Values

Specifies that words break according to their usual rules.
Breaks are not allowed within words or between letters (including those explicitly allowed by line-break) except where opportunities exist due to dictionary-based breaking. Otherwise this option is equivalent to normal. Sequences of CJK characters do not break.
In addition to normal soft wrap opportunities, lines may break between any two letters (except where forbidden by the line-break property). Hyphenation is not applied.

In addition, all CSS properties also accept the following CSS-wide keyword values as the sole component of their property value:

Represents the value specified as the property's initial value.
Represents the computed value of the property on the element's parent.
This value acts as either inherit or initial, depending on whether the property is inherited or not. In other words, it sets all properties to their parent value if they are inheritable or to their initial value if not inheritable.

Basic Property Information

Initial Value
Applies To
All elements.

Example Code

Basic CSS

Working Example within an HTML Document

Try it

CSS Specifications

Browser Support

The following table provided by Caniuse.com shows the level of browser support for this feature.

Vendor Prefixes

For maximum browser compatibility many web developers add browser-specific properties by using extensions such as -webkit- for Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera (newer versions), -ms- for Internet Explorer, -moz- for Firefox, -o- for older versions of Opera etc. As with any CSS property, if a browser doesn't support a proprietary extension, it will simply ignore it.

This practice is not recommended by the W3C, however in many cases, the only way you can test a property is to include the CSS extension that is compatible with your browser.

The major browser manufacturers generally strive to adhere to the W3C specifications, and when they support a non-prefixed property, they typically remove the prefixed version. Also, W3C advises vendors to remove their prefixes for properties that reach Candidate Recommendation status.

Many developers use Autoprefixer, which is a postprocessor for CSS. Autoprefixer automatically adds vendor prefixes to your CSS so that you don't need to. It also removes old, unnecessary prefixes from your CSS.

You can also use Autoprefixer with preprocessors such as Less and Sass.