This is an experimental technology
Because this technology's specification has not stabilized, check the compatibility table for usage in various browsers. Also note that the syntax and behavior of an experimental technology is subject to change in future versions of browsers as the specification changes.


The :dir CSS pseudo-class matches elements based on the directionality of the text contained in it. In HTML, the direction is determined by the dir attribute. For other document types there may be other document methods for determining the language.

Note that the usage of the pseudo-class :dir() is not equivalent of using the [dir=…] attribute selectors. The latter matches a value of the dir and doesn't match when no attribute is set, even if in that case the element inherits the value of its parent; similarly [dir=rtl] or [dir=ltr] won't match the auto value that can be used on the dir attribute. In the opposite, :dir() will match the value calculated by the UA, being inherited or the auto value.

Also :dir() considers only the semantic value of the directionality, the one defined in the document, most of the time in HTML. It won't consider styling directionality, the one set by CSS properties like direction which are purely stylistic.


/* element:dir(directionality) { style properties }
   where directionality is ltr or rtl */

div:dir(ltr) { /* style properties */ }
span:dir(rtl) { /* style properties */ }


<div dir="rtl">
  <div dir="ltr">test2
    <div dir="auto">עִבְרִית</div>

In this example :dir(rtl) will match the top level div, span containing test1, and the div with the hebrew characters. :dir(ltr) will match the div containing test2.


Specification Status Comment
WHATWG HTML Living Standard
The definition of ':dir(ltr)' in that specification.
Living Standard No changes.
Selectors Level 4
The definition of ':dir()' in that specification.
Working Draft Initial definition

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support Not supported 17 (17) -moz Not supported Not supported Not supported
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support Not supported 17.0 (17) -moz Not supported Not supported Not supported

See also

  • Language-related pseudo-classes: :lang, :dir

Document Tags and Contributors

 Contributors to this page: cvrebert, Sebastianz, teoli, jsx, SJW, kscarfone, Sheppy, FredB
 Last updated by: cvrebert,