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Just wrote this question, and was wondering if there's a markdown sharp syntax for specifying a definition list -- would have made specifying those function arguments a bit more natural...

If there's not, no big deal :)

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+1. I just tried to use <dl> in a meta post and was surprised when it didn't work. –  finnw Jun 17 '12 at 23:10
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Its actually called description list since HTML5 w3.org –  adius Jul 10 '13 at 18:48

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Ah yes, the totally useless <dl> and <dd> definition lists.

I still don't see the point of these tags at all, but they are allowed in the HTML.

<dl>
  <dt><strong>Lower cost</strong></dt>
  <dd>The new version of this product costs significantly less than the
      previous one!</dd>
  <dt><strong>Easier to use</strong></dt>
  <dd>We've changed the product so that it's much easier to use!</dd>
  <dt><strong>Safe for kids</strong></dt>
  <dd>You can leave your kids alone in a room with this product and they
      won't get hurt (not a guarantee).</dd>
</dl>
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That seems broken -- i.e. the definitions aren't on their own lines... is it supposed to be that way? –  Billy ONeal Dec 16 '10 at 4:38
    
@billy I don't really like definitions, I think they're ultra-pointless. I guess our CSS doesn't contain the right styles.. shrug. –  Jeff Atwood Dec 16 '10 at 5:27
    
That seems reasonable. +1 / checky :) –  Billy ONeal Dec 16 '10 at 6:30
50  
What's pointless about definition lists? It seems fairly common to break down a topic in to parts, eg. "There are several ways to answer your question: <dt>Solution #1</dt><dd>Description of Solution #1</dd><dt>Solution #2..." I'm not particular about using dl/dd/dt specifically, but the "list of things with further definition" is a useful construct to have; is there a better way of generating these in your opinion? (maybe using lists where every other term is bolded or something?) –  machineghost Aug 29 '12 at 18:55
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How can you claim they're useless when the OP obviously has a use for them? How else would you notate a definition list without the definition list syntax? Nested lists with bolded terms are not the same thing. –  endolith Sep 17 '12 at 14:51
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I like definition lists. I manage a lot of pro wrestling and MMA websites, and they’re good for displaying fighters’ stats, i.e. height, weight, win/loss record etc. They’re not totally useless, that’s just your opinion. They wouldn’t be available in HTML if they were totally useless. –  Martin Bean Nov 16 '12 at 11:00
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Well defined terms in well structured document are base of good and focused text. Without them the text can easily become pointless. –  Jan Vlcinsky Dec 8 '12 at 15:19
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@MartinBean Definition lists are useful for glossaries and the like. For your case, the semantically proper element is <table>. –  Marnen Laibow-Koser Mar 6 '13 at 22:56
    
@MarnenLaibow-Koser it depends on whether the page is listing more than one wrestler. For a listing of wrestlers I'd agree a table is better, but if it's just one page listing the stats for these wrestlers a definition list is probably more apt. Otherwise you basically have a table that is either 2 rows (with one row being the fields) or 2 columns (with on column being the fields). –  Jordan Reiter Mar 8 '13 at 18:35
    
@JordanReiter I was about to write that <dl> doesn't make sense semantically here, but on rereading the HTML 5 spec, I see that it's been broadened to refer semantically to name-value pairs. So maybe. But what's semantically wrong with a 2-column or 2-row <table>, since you seem to dislike that? –  Marnen Laibow-Koser Mar 11 '13 at 18:13
    
I guess I always felt like tables are most useful when looking at more than one record. I just don't see it as that useful when all you have really is name-value pairs. –  Jordan Reiter Mar 12 '13 at 1:43
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@MarnenLaibow-Koser A table with only 2 columns is just sad. So is a "table" with only 1 row. If you think about it, you cannot imagine someone writing a document, then taking a ruler to make a table with 2 colums or 2 rows. I have seen in (old) books, huge tables with lots of white space that has two columns. They don't look aesthetic. Furthermore, the use of <dl> helps the browser to know that the <dd> contains the further explanation for the <dt>. A table does not do this. Think screen readers. Etc. –  andho Jun 27 '13 at 10:03
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Definition lists are incredibly useful and it's unfortunate how underused they are, as this neglect has resulted in lack of attention and improvement in HTML5. They can be used wherever a field-value pair is used, like forms and database record output. Instead, these situations are often justified as "tabular" to use tables for layout. Mostly because people who don't put thought into semantic markup and are satisfied with using 4 divs to wrap one element call them useless and sad. –  Anthony Aug 1 '13 at 9:33
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There is a way, depending on how advanced your Markdown engine is. michelf.ca/projects/php-markdown/extra/#def-list –  silvenon Sep 18 '13 at 22:13
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even if the question is old just want to say that definition lists are actually important for the semantic web. So a good thing for SEO. –  qudrat Sep 19 '13 at 14:38

Maruku and kramdown support this.

kramdown
: A Markdown-superset converter

Looks like it doesnt work on Stack Overflow though.

§ Definition Lists

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And pandoc, too -- johnmacfarlane.net/pandoc/demo/example9/… –  imz -- Ivan Zakharyaschev Nov 22 '12 at 9:54
    
Kramdown seems to work really well using textmate and Marked app –  user220274 Apr 24 '13 at 23:40
    
It's supported in MultiMarkdown. Search the MultiMarkdown Syntax Guide for definition list. The syntax is the same as above. –  SteveLambert Jun 4 '13 at 10:43

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