Dictionary term markup on Wiktionary

I have recently been looking at dictionary entries across the internet and have been surprised at the unused status of the xhtml elements
  • <dt> Definition Term
  • <dl> Definition List
  • <dd> Definition
So I thought I would take a look at what the people at Wiktionary are using in their Mark-up. I went over to the English entry for language and took a look at the Wiki Syntax for input and at the xhtml output for the page.


Note that none of the links below work as they are all relative links to Wiktionary rather than this site.

language (countable and uncountable; plural languages)

  1. (countable) A form of communication using words either spoken or gestured with the hands and structured with grammar, often with a writing system.
    the English language
    sign language
    • 1900, William Beckford, The History of the Caliph Vathek[1], page 50:
      "No language could express his rage and despair."
  2. (uncountable) The ability to communicate using words.
    the gift of language
  3. Wiki Syntax


    # {{countable}} A form of [[communication]] using [[word]]s either spoken or gestured with the hands and structured with [[grammar]], often with a writing [[system]].
    #: ''the English '''language'''''
    #: ''sign '''language'''''
    #* {{quote-book
    |author=William Beckford
    |title=The History of the Caliph Vathek
    |passage="No '''language''' could express his rage and despair."}}
    # {{uncountable}} The ability to communicate using words.
    #: ''the gift of '''language'''''

    xhtml Output

    <span class="mw-headline" id="Noun">Noun</span></h3> <p><span class="infl-inline"><b>language</b> (<i><a href="/wiki/Appendix:Glossary#countable" title="Appendix:Glossary">countable</a> and <a href="/wiki/Appendix:Glossary#uncountable" title="Appendix:Glossary">uncountable</a>;</i>&#160;<i>plural</i>&#160;<span class="form-of plural-form-of lang-en"><b><span class="Latn" lang="en" xml:lang="en"><a href="/wiki/languages#English" title="languages">languages</a></span></b></span>)</span></p> <ol> <li><span class="ib-brac"><span class="qualifier-brac">(</span></span><span class="ib-content"><span class="qualifier-content"><a href="/wiki/Appendix:Glossary#C" title="Appendix:Glossary">countable</a></span></span><span class="ib-brac"><span class="qualifier-brac">)</span></span> A form of <a href="/wiki/communication" title="communication">communication</a> using <a href="/wiki/word" title="word">words</a> either spoken or gestured with the hands and structured with <a href="/wiki/grammar" title="grammar">grammar</a>, often with a writing <a href="/wiki/system" title="system">system</a>. <dl> <dd><i>the English <b>language</b></i></dd> <dd><i>sign <b>language</b></i></dd> </dl> <ul> <li><span class="citation-whole"><span class="cited-source"><cite class="book" style="font-style:normal"><b>1900</b>, William Beckford, <i>The History of the Caliph Vathek</i><sup><a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=KnArAAAAMAAJ" class="external autonumber" rel="nofollow">[1]</a></sup>, page 50</cite>:</span></span> <dl> <dd><span class="cited-passage">"No <b>language</b> could express his rage and despair."</span></dd> </dl> </li> </ul> </li> <li><span class="ib-brac"><span class="qualifier-brac">(</span></span><span class="ib-content"><span class="qualifier-content"><a href="/wiki/Appendix:Glossary#U" title="Appendix:Glossary">uncountable</a></span></span><span class="ib-brac"><span class="qualifier-brac">)</span></span> The ability to communicate using words. <dl> <dd><i>the gift of <b>language</b></i></dd> </dl>


    Shockingly, I found that <dt> Definition Term was not even used. (Look at the forst line for the head word and last part of the above code for examples of <dl> Definition List and <dd> Definition) It makes me wonder if there might be some use for a microformat hDictionary format.

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