A Modest Definition List Proposal

David E. Wheeler david at kineticode.com
Wed Feb 18 16:46:23 EST 2009

On Feb 18, 2009, at 10:44 AM, David E. Wheeler wrote:

> See my blog entry for more detailed description of why I prefer the

> tilde to the colon for this purpose. The best things about it are

> that it makes for a more natural bullet, already has precedent in

> dictionaries, and suggest equivalency if you're familiar with

> mathematics, which makes for a nice mnemonic.


> Comments? Has this ship already sailed?

Aristotle was kind enough to point me to some older posts on the
subject of definition lists, where I saw this message from Mssr. Gruber:

On Jul 27, 2005, at 7:33 AM, John Gruber wrote:

> And since the ones with multiple terms and/or definitions are the

> exception, not the norm, I think in the common cases, you'd wind up

> with something that looks like this:


> Term 1:: Definition a blah blah blah blah blah

> Term 2:: Definition b foo bar baz

> Term 3:: Definition c even more blah blah blah

Was this ever implemented? I haven't noticed it in the documentation
for PHP Markdown Extra or MultiMarkdown.

I think that, using the tilde as I've suggested in this thread, this
can be even better:

Term 1 ~ Definition a blah blah blah blah blah
Term 2 ~ Definition b foo bar baz
Term 3 ~ Definition c even more blah blah blah

Basically, it's the same rule, only you don't have to have a newline
before the definition starts. Also, the single ~ is a little less
“unnatural” looking than the double : (and I say that as a Perl
hacker, so I'm used to “::”!).



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