Term role

We have definition role in the aria 1.0 and term role supplements the definition role. Term is nothing but a word or phrase with the corresponding definition and it is related to HTML <dt> tag. Let us take simple example to understand about this roles. Web Accessibility is the term. Provides equal access on the web for all the users including people with disabilities is the definition.

When the term and definition roles are not defined then screen reader does not understand what is term and what is definition over there. Screen reader announces that as paragraph without any semantics and this is a problem.

When term role and definition roles are defined then screen readers are expected to announce like as: “term web accessibility. Web accessibility definition provides equal access on the web for all the users including people with the disabilities”

Author notes

  • Term role should not be used on the interactive elements like links


Code snippet

<div role=”term” id=’test’ aria-describedby=”dfn”>



<div role=”definition” id=”dfn”>

World Wide Web Consortium






2 Replies to “Term role”

  1. Hello Kurt,
    Great question. i have the matrix for the same but i did not post it in my blog post intentionally as this might vary in the latest versions. here is the matrix till date for your reference:
    Jaws and ie-Does not support
    jaws and FF-Does not support
    Jaws and chrome-Does not support
    nvda and ie-Does not support
    nvda and ff-Does not support
    nvda and chrome-Does not support
    Talk back and ff-Partially supports
    talkback and chrome-Partially supports
    Voice over and safari in iphone-Does not support
    1. talkback in the chrome announces term and definition roles properly but it does not announce the information that is inside of the definition role container
    2. talkback in the firefox announces the actual term along with the actual definition but there is no relation like which one is term and which one is defination

    Please let me know if you need any other help.
    thank you.

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