How do I get only the first term of a custom post type.
I can get all - no problem. This what I am using to grab all of them

<?php foreach ($terms as $term) {echo '<a href="'.get_term_link($term->slug, 'sitecat').'">'.$term->name.'</a>,';} ?> >> <a href="<?php the_permalink(); ?>"><?php the_title('', ''); ?></a></h2></span>

Would appreciate an answer using my code but any help is most welcomed

5 Answers 5


I'm not sure what you mean by 'first' taxonomy... but,

$terms = get_the_terms( $post->ID, 'mytaxonomy' );

returns an array of taxonomy term objects, so

$term = array_pop($terms);

Would give you the first term in the array. And then:

echo '<a href="'.get_term_link($term->slug, 'mytaxonomy').'">'.$term->name.'</a>,'

(You may want to include some if statements, in case an empty array or error is returned (see is_wp_error)

  • ok.. the error was on my side - not your answer ;) thanks a lot mate
    – Sagive
    Mar 16, 2012 at 20:34

As of PHP 5.4, you can directly dereference an array, so to get the first term, you can simply do.

$first_term = get_the_terms( $post->ID, 'TAXONOMY_NAME' )[0];
var_dump( $first_term );

If you need a specific property (say the term name) of the first term, you can do the following

$first_term_name = get_the_terms( $post->ID, 'TAXONOMY_NAME' )[0]->name;
var_dump( $first_term_name );


Just a note, this does have its draw backs because you will get a WP_Error object if the taxonomy is invalid. Also, if the returned array is empty, you will also get an undefined array key warning, so use this with with care.

  • How would i get all term id's foreach post for use on the home age archive @pieter-goosen Jan 9, 2022 at 5:55

how about directly access the key of object?

$terms = get_the_terms( $post->ID, 'sitecat' );
$first_term = $terms[0];

so you can access the object.

echo $first_term->name;
  • Its best to check this index exists but this work ;)
    – Sagive
    Jun 9, 2021 at 14:54

To summarize all the previous answers here is the helper gist I use. Does all the necessary checks and accepts same arguments as the get_the_terms() function.

function getTheFirstTerm($post, $taxonomy) {
    $post = get_post( $post );
    if ( ! $post ) {
        return false;

    $terms = get_the_terms( $post->ID, $taxonomy );

    if (!empty($terms)  && !is_wp_error( $terms )) {
        //this line effectively returns the first available term object if there is one.
        return $terms[0];

    return false;

Further note. This function for simplicity that's needed in most of my cases just returns the term object or false. You can still return WP_Error if up the flow you need check for it i.e.

if (!empty($terms)) {
   if(!is_wp_error( $terms )) {
       //this line effectively returns the first available term object if there is one.
       return $terms[0];
   } else {
       return $terms; //This returns the WP_Error object

Moreover you can sort the terms before returning the first i.e. so you get first term object by term_id, slug, name, menu order and so on.

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer j.w. ;)
    – Sagive
    Nov 11, 2021 at 0:55
  • You may point out in your code that which part give the first term so that other user may refer to it effectively. Nov 11, 2021 at 8:59

It worked for me. It brings only the first category as text, no anchor.

$terms = get_the_terms( $post->ID , 'your_custom_taxonomy' ); 
foreach( $terms as $term ) { 
    print $term->name;
  • 1
    What "worked for you"? Sidenote: The break; will really stop your statement, the unset will never be triggered and only the 1st item will be processed.
    – kaiser
    Mar 4, 2014 at 12:57
  • unset( $term ); should be after your foreach loop, and not inside it :-) Jul 28, 2015 at 8:18
  • This won't work if the returned terms are WP_Error.
    – J. Wrong
    Nov 11, 2021 at 0:40

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