The Publishing Project

Removing specificity from a CSS rule with :where

One of the benefits of the :where pseudo selector is that it removes the specificity of the selector inside it.

This becomes a powerful solution when we want to create base styles that we can override without having to worry about specificity.

:where(ul[class]) {
  padding: 0;
  margin: 0;
  list-style-type: none;

.restaurant-list {
  list-style-type: disclosure-closed;

In this example, the first rule has no specificity (0, 0, 0) so the second rule will be applied regardless of its specificity.

So, when build base styles, we can use :where to remove the specificity of a selector and make it easier for authors to override. The downside is that it’s an all-or-nothing proposition. Any style targeting the same element will override the base style and that might both be a good thing and a bad thing.

A few notes:

All browsers support the :where pseudo selector. However Safari, Opera Mobile and Samsung Internet do not support forgiving selector lists. In the later group of browsers, an error in the selector list will render the entire selector invalid and will render it useless.