text overflow ellipsis: avoid word break

In my webpage I have a div with fixed width and using the following css:

width: 200px; 
overflow: hidden;
text-overflow: ellipsis;
white-space: nowrap;

The ellipsis is working, the problem is that it cuts the final word, and I wanted it to put the ellipsis (...) in the final of a full word.

For instance, if I have the text: "stackoverflow is the best", and if it need to be cutted near the end, I want it to display "stackoverflow is the ..." instead of "stackoverflow is the be..."


I’m afraid it’s impossible. There was once text-overflow: ellipsis-word, which would do just this, but it was not implemented in browsers and it was removed from CSS3 drafts.

There's a jQuery plugin that does this, called dotdotdot.

It also works for multi-line text, and adapts responsively if the text reflows e.g. if the screen size changes. It also includes smart truncation of pathnames e.g. http://example.com/some/long/.../path.html

Be aware of the possibility of width-based timing issues in cases where the width changes or becomes unavailable in ways the plugin might not expect, such as if the text is initially hidden or if it changes font (e.g. loading web fonts on some browsers). Might require re-applying or being applied after such changes.

But 99% of the time, the plugin seems fast and robust.

Of course it's possible. (If you're willing to change your markup a bit.)

  .foo {
    /* Make it easy to see where the cutoff point is */
    border: 2px solid #999;

    padding-right: 18px; /* Always have room for an ellipsis */
    width: 120px;
    height: 1.1em; /* Only allow one line of text */
    overflow: hidden; /* Hide all the text below that line */
    background-color: #fff; /* Background color is required */
  .foo > span {
    display: inline-block; /* These have to be inline block to wrap correctly */
    position: relative; /* Give the ellipsis an anchor point so it's positioned after the word */
    background-color: #fff; /* Cover the ellipsis of the previous word with the same background color */
    white-space: pre; /* Make sure the only point where wrapping is allowed is after a whole word */
  .foo > span:after {
    position: absolute; /* Take the ellipsis out of the flow, so the next item will cover it */
    content: "…"; /* Each span has an ellipsis */
  .foo > span:last-child:after {
    content: ""; /* Except for the last one */

<div class="foo">
  <!-- These *must not* have white space between them, or it will collapse to a space before the next word, and the ellipsis will become visible -->
  <span>stackoverflow</span><span> is</span><span> the</span><span> best</span>


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