veg·​e·​tar·​i·​an·​ism | \ ˌve-jə-ˈter-ē-ə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce vegetarianism (audio) \

Definition of vegetarianism

: the theory or practice of living on a vegetarian diet

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 vegetarianism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The vegan diet takes vegetarianism a step further by eliminating all animal products -- even dairy and eggs. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 4 Jan. 2022 The restaurant will accommodate vegetarianism, gluten-free diets and nut and shellfish allergies. Susan Dunne,, 1 Jan. 2022 None of this is to say all herbal medicines don't work (many do!), or that vegetarianism or granola are bad, or that pharmaceutical companies do not deserve quite a lot of skepticism. Ryan Cooper, The Week, 2 Dec. 2021 Unless vegetarianism becomes a lot more popular, humanity will need solutions to the greenhouse gas problem created by livestock waste. Luke Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Nov. 2021 Habibi made an effort to explain to her daughter that vegetarianism was a slippery slope toward feminism, Marxism, Communism, atheism, hedonism, and, eventually, cannibalism. Jamil Jan Kochai, The New Yorker, 1 Nov. 2021 Benjamin Lay, born in 1682, was four feet tall, made his own clothes, grew his own food, lived in a cave surrounded by books, practiced vegetarianism, and was a forceful opponent of slavery., 28 Oct. 2021 And the inescapable logic of vegetarianism—something the omnivorous Mr. Chang agrees makes sense. John Anderson, WSJ, 21 Oct. 2021 His is not a world in which our problems are solved by vegetarianism, for instance. Heidi J. Snow, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vegetarianism.' 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 vegetarianism

circa 1848, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of vegetarianism was circa 1848

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Last Updated

12 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vegetarianism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for vegetarianism


veg·​e·​tar·​i·​an·​ism | \ -ē-ə-ˌniz-əm How to pronounce vegetarianism (audio) \

Medical Definition of vegetarianism

: the theory or practice of living on a vegetarian diet


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