veg·​an ˈvē-gən How to pronounce vegan (audio)
ˈvā- How to pronounce vegan (audio)
ˈve-jən How to pronounce vegan (audio)
-ˌjan How to pronounce vegan (audio)
: a strict vegetarian who consumes no food (such as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals
also : one who abstains from using animal products (such as leather)
vegan adjective
vegan desserts
a vegan restaurant

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The Difference Between Vegetarian, Vegan, and Other Diets

The word vegetarian sprouted up in 1839. Fruitarian ("a person who lives on fruit") ripened by 1893. In 1944, vegetarians who consume no animal or dairy products began calling themselves vegans. Then, in 1993, those who eat fish but no other meat chose pesce, the Italian word for "fish," to create the designation pescatarian. In that same year, meatatarian was served up as a word for those whose diet largely includes meat; that word is rare, however, and is usually used in informal and humorous ways, making it the type of fare not included in our dictionaries. Another fairly recent dietary word is flexitarian, a person who follows a mostly vegetarian diet but occasionally eats meat or fish.

Examples of vegan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Lyman’s Tavern is hosting a potluck with turkey, as well as vegetarian and vegan options, according to owner Kevin Perone. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2023 Now based in Brooklyn, Trade Street Jam Co.’s vegan jams are low in sugar but high in fruity flavor. Melanie Fincher, Southern Living, 17 Nov. 2023 With its vegan formula, fairly inclusive shade range, and wearable, everyday finish, there’s so much more to love about this little Milk Makeup bronzer. Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 12 Nov. 2023 This pair is made from recycled parts plus cruelty-free vegan leather for a shoe that’s seriously built to last — three times longer than other street shoes, the brand bills. Alesandra Dubin, Travel + Leisure, 8 Nov. 2023 After a spate of bad reviews for its new vegan menu, the famed Eleven Madison Park retained its three stars last year and did the same in 2023. Sam Stone, Bon Appétit, 7 Nov. 2023 Mango leather bomber jacket Gap vegan leather flight jacket Acne Studios Onnea faux leather bomber jacket Agolde Ava leather bomber jacket Mini Platform Uggs These comfy little boots have increased 30% in popularity in recent weeks. Kristen Bateman, Vogue, 7 Nov. 2023 Raised as a vegetarian, Eilish became a vegan at 12 because of her love for animals. Katcy Stephan, Variety, 13 Nov. 2023 Raised in a family of sport hunters who stalked pheasants and other wild game, Ms. Davis was a meat lover who became a vegan. Trip Gabriel, New York Times, 11 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vegan.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


by contraction from vegetarian entry 1

First Known Use

1944, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of vegan was in 1944

Dictionary Entries Near vegan

Cite this Entry

“Vegan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


veg·​an ˈvē-gən How to pronounce vegan (audio)
: a strict vegetarian who does not use animals or dairy products for food
vegan adjective
veganism noun

Medical Definition


: a strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products
vegan adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on vegan

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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