I have been searching google but I am really confused. I am trying to display the terms of the taxonomy assigned to the post. I am using the_terms($post->ID, 'locations');. The custom taxonomy is hierarchical.

Example: 3 terms assigned to post: USA(parent) > FL(direct child of "USA") > Miami(direct child of "FL"). What I get: FL, Miami, USA which means the terms are being displayed in alphabetical order. I want them to be displayed like: Miami, FL, USA. Can this be achieved? I would also like to remove the anchors from the terms and strip_tags(the_terms($post->ID, 'locations')) doesn't seem to work.

While searching google some people use get_terms() some other get_the_terms and others the_terms which is what I use and seems to work - output the terms. What is the difference between those functions? Am I using the right one?

2 Answers 2


To answer your first question

What is the difference between those functions

  • get_terms() returns an array of terms objects that belongs to a specific taxonomy

  • get_the_terms() returns an array of terms belonging to a post

  • the_terms() displays an HTML formatting string of term names belonging to a post

Because you need your terms not hyperlinked and ordered according to parent, I believe wp_get_object_terms() will be a better option here. wp_get_object_terms() also returns an array of terms belonging to a post, but is more flexible. You do pay for this flexibility though as you make an extra db call per post.

With this all in mind, you can try the following: (All code is untested)

$args = [
    'orderby' => 'parent', 
    'order'   => 'DESC' 
$terms  = wp_get_object_terms( $post->ID, 'locations', $args );
$names  = wp_list_pluck( $terms, 'name' );
$output = implode( ', ', $names );
echo $output;
  • Feel free to leave me a comment if you are not clear about something ;-) Feb 4, 2016 at 12:34
  • Thank you very much for your answer. It works however it seems to ignore 'order' => 'DSC'. It outputs "USA, FL, Miami" while I want this reversed "Miami, FL, USA".
    – Arg Geo
    Feb 4, 2016 at 13:37
  • Nevermind, I am stupid. I used "DSC" instead of "DESC". Thanks a ton for your help Pieter!
    – Arg Geo
    Feb 4, 2016 at 13:42
  • Hahaha, no problem, was just about to post DESC. Glad it worked. Enjoy ;-) Feb 4, 2016 at 13:43

You should use

get_the_terms(int|object $post, string $taxonomy)

https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/functions/get_the_terms/ or

get_terms(array|string $args = array(), array $deprecated = '')




echo/prints the results


 get_the_terms() //or

only get value and save it to variable or memory.

A possible example is

foreach($posts as $post){
    $term= get_the_terms($post->ID, 'category' );
    echo 'Category: '.$term;

You may need to use another loop to handle $terms if there or more than 1 object in any case.

  • I want to display the_terms inside the loop... I am not trying to list all the taxonomy terms.
    – Arg Geo
    Feb 4, 2016 at 11:37
  • Ok you can get and then echo terms inside loop.. If you are in wordpress default post loop then you can do it more easily. just post the_terms(); you don't need to provide any parameter other than custom taxonomy. I will suggest you to share your code and scenario in detail here so others can help you in effective way Feb 4, 2016 at 11:40
  • It just displays the word "Array".
    – Arg Geo
    Feb 4, 2016 at 11:42
  • Ok. Yes it will be do this $trm=the_term(); print_r($trm) and then share your result here. Feb 4, 2016 at 11:43
  • I understand nothing. Anyway, thanks for you contribution.
    – Arg Geo
    Feb 4, 2016 at 11:44

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