What I want to achieve: A loop that display's all articles with a certain text string in their tags.

For example:

If I have an article tagged with "coffeemug" and one "coffeebean". Now I want to display them both because of the text string "coffee".

A default query like this:

query_posts( 'tag=coffee' );

will display none of it. It will just work for articles tagged exactly with "coffee"

And yes, I know, I can use an array for both tags. But in my case I don't know all tags which might be used in the future. I just know that some of them will start with "coffee". There can be hundreds of tags...or just the two above...but I want to catch 'em all.


1 Answer 1


Based on @birgire's always-useful comments, I did write a workaround for you. What I'm doing is to first find the terms that match the search string. Then, based on the found terms I will do a query in those.

function wpse_posts_by_tagname( $string ) {

    // Let's find every tag that has 'coffee' in it's name
    $term_args = array(
        'taxonomy'             => 'post_tag',
        'fields'               => 'ids',
        'name__like'           => $string,
        // 'description__like' => $string, // You can also search in description. 
        // 'search'            => $string, // We can even search in the term's name! 
    $terms = get_terms( $term_args );

    // Let's make an array of term IDs
    if ( empty( $terms ) || is_wp_error( $terms ) )
        esc_html_e( 'No matches found', 'text-domain' );

    // Alright we got'em, now query based on these
    $query_args = array(
        'post_type'      => 'post',
        'tag__in'        => (array) $terms,
        'posts_per_page' => 10 // Optional limitation of posts per page
    $tag_query = new WP_Query( $query_args );

    if( $tag_query->have_posts() ){
        while( $tag_query->have_posts() ){
                sprintf( '<h2><a href="%s">', esc_url( get_permalink() ) ),
    } else {
        esc_html_e( 'No matches found', 'text-domain' );

Also it's worth noting that you should use WP_Query instead of query_posts. There are endless articles on the internet about this, so I'm just gonna skip this part.

  • 1
    I don't think LIKE is supported as tax query operator and shouldn't it be post_tag ?
    – birgire
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 12:50
  • 1
    I guess many have tried the same, so you could mentioned that LIKE isn't supported. A workaround might be to find the terms with get_terms() using e.g. the name__like argument, and feed it to the WP_Query tax query? Or writing custom solutions via filters? Or better yet, suggest a proper taxonomy structure instead?
    – birgire
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 13:47
  • Thanks for the comments @birgire! Would you be kind and see if the update is written properly?
    – Johansson
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 9:03
  • 1
    sure,I think the get_terms input argument should be a single array.and the_permalink() and the_title() echo but don't return the value. Resetting post data might be good too afterwards. Might also consider returning only ids from get_terms() withe 'fields' => 'ids'.. Ps: just to note that my suggestion might not scale well for huge number of terms.
    – birgire
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 14:57
  • 1
    Thanks for pointing out the issues, all set now. get_term does also have a string format (get_terms('taxonomy',$args)) but I suppose it's deprecated? Seems like I was quite sleepy while writing this, so many issues :P
    – Johansson
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 19:17

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