veg·​an | \ ˈvē-gən How to pronounce vegan (audio) also ˈvā- How to pronounce vegan (audio) also ˈve-jən How to pronounce vegan (audio) or -ˌjan How to pronounce vegan (audio) \

Definition of vegan

: 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)

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Other Words from vegan

vegan adjective
vegan desserts a vegan restaurant
veganism \ ˈvē-​gə-​ˌni-​zəm How to pronounce vegan (audio) also  ˈvā-​gə-​ How to pronounce vegan (audio) or  ˈve-​jə-​ How to pronounce vegan (audio) \ noun

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 Now, upon re-opening the restaurant, Humm has announced that the menu will be 99.99% vegan—the exception being honey and milk for tea and coffee. John Mariani, Forbes, "The Acclaimed Eleven Madison Park Restaurant Is Going Vegan. But $335 Is A Lot Of Lettuce—For Lettuce," 4 May 2021 Participants include Hammond’s Gourmet, Mr. Trustee, GelatoLove and Salt & Straw as well as three dog ice cream vendors and several vegan, non-dairy and gluten-free options. San Diego Union-Tribune, "The Dish: Chefs cooking up culinary plans to help others facing job loss, racism and hunger," 27 Apr. 2021 The Forest Green Rovers are the world's first vegan, carbon-neutral professional sports team. CBS News, "Meet the world's first vegan, carbon-neutral professional sports team," 20 Apr. 2021 For an affordable gift that your mom will use every day, try this hand cream that's vegan, non-toxic, paraben-free, fragrance-free, and cruelty-free. Jennifer Aldrich, Better Homes & Gardens, "The 12 Best Mother's Day Gifts to Give to the Beauty Lover This Year," 15 Apr. 2021 But most people don't switch to oat milk (or even go vegan) solely due to concerns about their own nutrition. Lydia Wang,, "Please Leave Oat Milk Alone," 7 Apr. 2021 This bakery offers vegan and gluten-free goods, including pasta, pizza crusts and breads such as baguettes and sandwich rolls. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, The Arizona Republic, "Bagels, mochi, mushrooms: 5 new food vendors to try at the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market," 25 Mar. 2021 All snacks are vegan, non-GMO, dairy-free and gluten-free. Shanon Maglente, Good Housekeeping, "40+ Asian-Owned Businesses to Support Right Now," 23 Mar. 2021 The Billie brand is also against the pink tax (the extra amount women are charged for some products and services), and all of its products are vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free. Liv Birdsall, USA TODAY, "9 things you need for a more sustainable bathroom," 9 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vegan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of vegan

1944, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vegan

by contraction from vegetarian entry 1

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Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vegan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for vegan



English Language Learners Definition of vegan

: a person who does not eat any food that comes from animals and who often also does not use animal products (such as leather)


veg·​an | \ ˈvē-gən; ˈvej-ən How to pronounce vegan (audio) , -ˌan How to pronounce vegan (audio) \

Medical Definition of vegan

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

Other Words from vegan

vegan adjective
veganism \ ˈvē-​gə-​ˌniz-​əm How to pronounce vegan (audio) , ˈvej-​ə-​ How to pronounce vegan (audio) \ noun

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