HTML <cite> Tag

The HTML <cite> tag is used for representing a citation in an HTML document.

Text enclosed in <cite> tags is intended to represent the title of a work (e.g. a book, a paper, an essay, a poem, a score, a song, a script, a film, a TV show, a game, a sculpture, a painting, a theatre production, a play, an opera, a musical, an exhibition, etc).

Note that the HTML5 specification allows the <cite> to include people's names while the HTML Living Standard does not. For more information, see below under the heading "Differences Between HTML 4 & HTML 5".


The <cite> tag is written as <cite></cite> with the citation inserted between the start and end tags.

Like this:


Title of a Work

In this example, we use the <cite> element to cite the title of a piece of work that contains the quote. We use the <blockquote> tag to present the quote, and the <cite> tag to provide the source.

Author's Name

You can include the name of the author (whether it be a person, people, or organization) in your <cite> tag.

In this example we use the <q> tag to provide the quote, and the <cite> to provide the name of the author.

Important Note: This option is only supported in HTML5 (i.e. the W3C version of HTML). The HTML Living Standard (WHATWG) does not allow people's names to be included in the <cite> tag.


The <cite> tag can also contain a URL reference for the quote.


Attributes can be added to an HTML element to provide more information about how the element should appear or behave.

The <cite> element accepts the following attributes.


Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <cite> tag , as well as with all other HTML tags.

For a full explanation of these attributes, see HTML 5 global attributes.

Event Handlers

Event handler content attributes enable you to invoke a script from within your HTML. The script is invoked when a certain "event" occurs. Each event handler content attribute deals with a different event.

Most event handler content attributes can be used on all HTML elements, but some event handlers have specific rules around when they can be used and which elements they are applicable to.

For more detail, see HTML event handler content attributes.