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The HTML element word break opportunity <wbr> represents a position within text where the browser may optionally break a line, though its line-breaking rules would not otherwise create a break at that location.

On UTF-8 encoded pages, <wbr> behaves like the U+200B ZERO-WIDTH SPACE code point. In particular, it behaves like a Unicode bidi BN code point, meaning it has no effect on bidi-ordering: <div dir=rtl>123,<wbr>456</div> displays, when not broken on two lines, 123,456 and not 456,123.

For the same reason, the <wbr> element does not introduce a hyphen at the line break point. To make a hyphen appear only at the end of a line, use the soft hyphen character entity (&shy;) instead.

This element was first implemented in Internet Explorer 5.5 and was officially defined in HTML5.

Usage Context

Permitted content Empty
Tag omission It is an empty element; it must have a start tag, but must not have an end tag.
Permitted parent elements Any element that accepts phrasing content.
Normative document HTML 5, section 4.6.24


This element only includes the global attributes.

DOM Interface

This element implements the HTMLElement interface.


The Yahoo Style Guide recommends breaking a URL before punctuation, to avoid leaving a punctuation mark at the end of the line, which the reader might mistake for the end of the URL.


Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 1.0 1.0 No support[1] 11.7 4.0
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support 1.5 1.0 No support No support No support

[1] Support for the <wbr> tag was introduced in Internet Explorer 5.5, though removed again in version 7.

Document Tags and Contributors

 Last updated by: Sebastianz,