HTML5 Killed the “big” Tag?

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Ah, the evolution of technology, where, things gets better and better.

HTML5 chopped off the <big> tag, yet it retained the <small> tag. How consistent.

Instead of “big”, you are supposed to use “em” or “strong” or “b”? But “big” carries a sematic that's not one of emphasis, strong, warning, bold. If you are going to argue that HTML should be used for semantic markup, then please chop off {b, i, u} off the earth.

When would big be meaningful? For example, you want to show Chinese characters big, so user can see the detail.

鬍 ☠ 🌌 💐

Another reason is that sometimes i want to make a title larger, but semantically i don't want it to be a header such as {h1, h2, h3}. For example, a Tag cloud, fashionable around 2007.

Sure one can resort to CSS, for example: <span style="font-size:4em">☠</span>, but “big” would carry with it a precise and semantic info. After all, “small” and “b” are there too.

When you get deep into a technology, often you find many oddities, whose reasoning are buried in obscurity, or simply idiotic.

back to HTML5 Tags Complete List

HTML Basics

  1. HTML Basics
  2. HTML5 Tags
  3. Case Sensitivity
  4. Allowed Characters
  5. Charset and Encoding
  6. Self-Closing Tags
  7. Multiple Class Value
  8. HTML Entity List

HTML Table

  1. HTML Table Examples
  2. HTML Table, thead, tbody, tfoot
  3. HTML Table, colgroup, col
  4. Styling HTML Table with CSS
  5. CSS: 3 Columns Page Layout
  6. Pure CSS Table


  1. Viewport Meta
  2. the Root Element
  3. iframe
  4. video
  5. audio
  6. figure
  7. dl, dt, dd
  8. s strike del
  9. time
  10. meter
  11. progress
  12. q
  13. address
  14. canvas
  15. ruby
  16. HTML5 Custom Data Attribute
  17. Big Tag
  18. Image Maps
  19. Marquee, Scrolling Text
  20. How to Markup Subtitle
  21. Meta Language Tag Obsolete
  22. Browser Auto Refresh

HTML4 Frameset

  1. HTML: Split Windows; Frameset
  2. HTML Nested Frameset
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