vegetarian

1 of 2

noun

veg·​e·​tar·​i·​an ˌve-jə-ˈter-ē-ən How to pronounce vegetarian (audio)
1
: a person who does not eat meat : someone whose diet consists wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products
2

vegetarian

2 of 2

adjective

1
: of, relating to, or suitable for vegetarians
a vegetarian restaurant
2
: not containing meat : consisting wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products
a vegetarian diet
vegetarian lunch

Did you know?

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 vegetarian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
But that diet may look more flexitarian and less strict vegetarian. Byirina Ivanova, Fortune, 17 Feb. 2024 Lara, fairweather vegetarian, had one job: Cook hot dogs over a fire. Joanne Spataro, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Pérez, a vegetarian, has had an impact on Flay's methods in the kitchen. Chris Barilla, Peoplemag, 15 Jan. 2024 Many Hindus are vegetarians and the concept of their gods eating meat is offensive to them. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 11 Jan. 2024 Experience traditional Ethiopian cuisine served family style on gluten-free injera, with a large selection of vegetarian, and vegan options at Addissae. Noel Cody, Essence, 2 Jan. 2024 Made without dairy and gluten, and options for vegans and vegetarians, the weekly changing menu proves nutritious meals don’t have to be boring with dishes like tomato camu camu chickpea stew and tempeh chorizo taco salad bowls. Anna Haines, Forbes, 11 Dec. 2023 And vegetarians will love the Tofu and Mushroom-Onion Skewers with Plum Dipping Sauce. Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, 26 Nov. 2023 Can easily make vegetarian by omitting the sausage and adding mushrooms or beans or extra veggies or vegetarian sausage. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 11 Nov. 2023
Adjective
Canned cannellini beans add heartiness to this vegetarian recipe. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 22 Feb. 2024 The scratch kitchen offers vegetarian Latin food from a menu that changes daily. Bahar Anooshahr, The Arizona Republic, 20 Feb. 2024 The menu offers breakfast favorites such as waffles, pancakes, omelets and more, including vegetarian and vegan options. Heidi Finley, Charlotte Observer, 16 Feb. 2024 The brand notes that there are more vegetarian and vegan menus than ever before, and its menus must take that into account. Ramsey Qubein, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 There is generally one vegetarian filling available, like rajas con papas, potatoes with onions and green bell pepper, and Aguilar makes a very small number of tortillas with avocado oil, for those who know to ask for them. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 4 Feb. 2024 The veggie option, which costs $5, will be fed to one of the zoo's vegetarian animals on Valentine’s Day. Nicholas Rice, Peoplemag, 3 Feb. 2024 There are also vegetarian and vegan selections as well. Connie Ogle, Miami Herald, 1 Feb. 2024 The ohn-no khao swe ($13) offers a vegetarian version of this Burmese coconut noodle soup typically prepared with chicken. Linda Zavoral, The Mercury News, 15 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

veget(able) entry 1 + -arian

First Known Use

Noun

1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1841, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of vegetarian was in 1841

Dictionary Entries Near vegetarian

Cite this Entry

“Vegetarian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vegetarian. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

vegetarian

1 of 2 noun
veg·​e·​tar·​i·​an ˌvej-ə-ˈter-ē-ən How to pronounce vegetarian (audio)
1
: a person who refrains from eating meat and lives on a diet made up of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products
2

vegetarian

2 of 2 adjective
1
: of or relating to vegetarians
2
: consisting wholly of vegetables
a vegetarian diet

Medical Definition

vegetarian

1 of 2 noun
veg·​e·​tar·​i·​an ˌvej-ə-ˈter-ē-ən How to pronounce vegetarian (audio)
: an individual who believes in or practices vegetarianism

vegetarian

2 of 2 adjective
1
: of or relating to vegetarians
2
: consisting wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products
a vegetarian diet
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