It seems to me that category_description should be an option in wp_list_categories. Is there way to pull the description when listing all categories?

  • 1
    This is just an HTML list of links - that's why it doesn't get descriptions. You probably want get_categories() which will give you more freedom on what to display and how to display it. Also, there is an option use_desc_for_title if that's what you're trying to do.
    – Howdy_McGee
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 20:01
  • I adjusted the title to have less opinion-based answers (i.e. removed the "why" part)
    – birgire
    Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 16:36

1 Answer 1


Extend the Walker_Category class

We can extend the Walker_Category class to append the category description to each item.

Here's a demo example with an anonymous class (PHP 7+):

$args = [
  'walker' => new class extends Walker_Category 
      public function start_el( &$output, $category, $depth = 0, $args = array(), $id = 0 )
        // Let's use the output from the parent's start_el method
        $output .= parent::start_el( $output, $category, $depth, $args, $id );

        // Append the category description:
        $desc = $category->description;
        $output .= ( $desc ) ? sprintf( '<span>%s</span>', esc_html( $desc ) ) : '';

wp_list_categories( $args );

For older PHP versions, we can just define the class as usual with a custom name.

Here's a single item output example:

Item before:

<li class="cat-item cat-item-269">
    <a href="http://example.tld/category/green/" 
       title="Description for the Green category">Green</a>

Item after:

<li class="cat-item cat-item-269">
    <a href="http://example.tld/category/blue/" 
       title="Description for Green category">Green</a>
    <span>Description for the Green category</span>

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