I was reading this post to "Exclude posts with specific meta_value" but it does not work correctly. Here is the arguments I am passing to WP_Query :

        'cat' => $catid,
        'category__in'=> $term_ids,
        'post_type' => 'post',
        'post_status' => 'publish',
        'posts_per_page' => -1,
        'meta_query' => array(
                'key' => 'featured_post',
                'value' => 'on',

Using the above method, I can list posts which use meta key, but I do not want posts, with meta key "featured_post" to be displayed. If I change the value to something else then no post is displayed.

The meta value is simply a check box for featured posts.

  • I believe you are missing your compare argument for the meta_query.
    – jdm2112
    Oct 30, 2015 at 21:35

1 Answer 1


Use compare with NOT EXISTS to get posts without that meta key.

'meta_query' => array(
        'key'     => 'featured_post',
        'compare' => 'NOT EXISTS',
  • thanks, it works, stupid me I checked the meta key in the post and I thought otherwise.
    – Rain Man
    Oct 30, 2015 at 21:39
  • a related question, if I have something like this where I am trying to get post with meta key, if I have multiple posts with meta key in same category, all of them are displayed. Is it possible to only display 1 post with meta key based on date? (considering we have many of them)
    – Rain Man
    Oct 30, 2015 at 21:46
  • change posts_per_page to 1 instead of -1. -1 returns all.
    – Milo
    Oct 30, 2015 at 21:50
  • yes, but I have several categories, if I change it to 1 then only 1 post from a category is displayed. I want the post with meta key from each category to be displayed.
    – Rain Man
    Oct 30, 2015 at 21:57
  • so something like this where this is used for this section. So the recent post published under Grand children categories which has meta key.
    – Rain Man
    Oct 30, 2015 at 22:03

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