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What does the "Cascading" in "Cascading Style Sheets" mean?

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47. What does the "Cascading" in "Cascading Style Sheets" mean?

Style Sheets allow style information to be specified from many locations. Multiple (partial) external style sheets can be referenced to reduce redundancy, and both authors as well as readers can specify style preferences. In addition, three main methods can be employed by an author to add style information to HTML documents, and multiple approaches for style control are available in each of these methods. In the end, style can be specified for a single element using any, or all, of these methods. What style is to be used when there is a direct conflict between style specifications for an element?
Cascading comes to the rescue. A document can have styles specified using all of these methods, but all the information will be reduced to a single, cohesive "virtual" Style Sheet. Conflict resolution is based on each style rule having an assigned weight according to its importance in the scheme of things. A rule with a higher overall importance will carry a higher weight. This will be used in place of a competing style rule with a lower weight/importance. A hierarchy of competing styles is thus formed creating a "cascade" of styles according to their assigned weights. The algorithm used to determine this cascading weight scale is fairly complex.

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