The mouseenter event is fired when a pointing device (usually a mouse) is moved over the element that has the listener attached.

Bubbles No
Cancelable No
Interface MouseEvent
Event handler property onmouseenter

Though similar to mouseover, it differs in that it doesn't bubble and that it isn't sent to any descendants when the pointer is moved from one of its descendants' physical space to its own physical space.

One mouseenter event is sent to each element of the hierarchy when entering them. Here 4 events are sent to the four elements of the hierarchy when the pointer reaches the text.
A single mouseover event is sent to the deepest element of the DOM tree, then it bubbles up the hierarchy until it is canceled by a handler or reaches the root.

With deep hierarchies, the number of mouseenter events sent can be quite huge and cause significant performance problems. In such cases, it is better to listen for mouseover events.

Combined with the behavior of its symmetrical event, mouseleave, the mouseenter DOM Event acts in a very similar way to the CSS :hover pseudo-class.


The mouseover documentation has an example illustrating the difference between mouseover and mouseenter.

The following example illustrates how to use mouseover to simulate the principle of event delegation for the mouseenter event.

<ul id="test">
    <ul class="enter-sensitive">
      <li>item 1-1</li>
      <li>item 1-2</li>
    <ul class="enter-sensitive">
      <li>item 2-1</li>
      <li>item 2-2</li>

  var delegationSelector = ".enter-sensitive";

  document.getElementById("test").addEventListener("mouseover", function( event ) {
    var target =,
        related = event.relatedTarget,

    // search for a parent node matching the delegation selector
    while ( target && target != document && !( match = matches( target, delegationSelector ) ) ) {
        target = target.parentNode;

    // exit if no matching node has been found
    if ( !match ) { return; }

    // loop through the parent of the related target to make sure that it's not a child of the target
    while ( related && related != target && related != document ) {
        related = related.parentNode;

    // exit if this is the case
    if ( related == target ) { return; }

    // the "delegated mouseenter" handler can now be executed
    // change the color of the text = "orange";
    // reset the color after a small amount of time
    setTimeout(function() { = "";
    }, 500);

  }, false);

  // function used to check if a DOM element matches a given selector
  // the following code can be replaced by this IE8 compatible function:
  function matches( elem, selector ){
    // the matchesSelector is prefixed in most (if not all) browsers
    return elem.matchesSelector( selector );


Specification Status
UI Events
The definition of 'mouseenter' in that specification.
Working Draft
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 3 Events Specification
The definition of 'mouseenter' in that specification.

Browser compatibility

No compatibility data found. Please contribute data for "api.Element.mouseenter" (depth: 1) to the MDN compatibility data repository.

See also