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

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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 vegetarianism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Yeong-hye’s vegetarianism is an act of control and defiance that her husband mistakes for madness. Bindu Bansinath, Bon Appétit, "After a Life-Changing Injury, I Had to Eat to Heal," 8 Dec. 2020 While young people are clearly more open to different ways of eating more sustainably, that doesn't mean all of them are turning to veganism and vegetarianism. Olivia Harrison,, "A Fourth-Generation Butcher’s Journey Into The Low-Meat Trend," 28 Aug. 2020 My girlfriend, for Buddhist reasons, is 108 days of vegetarianism, so that's been a little challenging thinking of meals to share over the dinner table together. Condé Nast Traveler, "What It's Like Running a Restaurant Right Now: Women Who Travel Podcast," 3 June 2020 For the uninitiated, a vegan diet takes vegetarianism a click further, by abstaining not just from meat but all animal products, including dairy and honey. Matt Wake |, al, "A carnivore’s guide to going vegan(ish) during the pandemic," 28 May 2020 As the general population becomes more interested in vegetarianism, more Chinese vegetarian businesses are arriving, too — although not at the same rate as high-tech fake meat startups. Momo Chang,, "The Chinese roots of plant-based meat," 22 Jan. 2020 No nut allergy, gluten intolerance, pork aversion, nor half-hearted vegetarianism can deter me from inviting you to dinner. Elyse Inamine, Bon Appétit, "This Cheesy Baked Pasta Was Designed For Children—I Feed It To My Adult Friends," 28 Feb. 2020 The Bowl, as Berkeley residents call it, inspired Bay Area residents to eat a vegetable-centric diet long before vegetarianism became a hot topic across the country. Janelle Bitker,, "Glenn Yasuda, founder of renowned grocery store Berkeley Bowl, has died," 20 Feb. 2020 In accepting the trophy, Phoenix spoke earnestly and at times haltingly about various social issues, including the misogyny and racial prejudice of the film business, as well as ecological devastation, animal rights and vegetarianism. Daniel Arkin, NBC News, "Oscars 2020: The top moments from Hollywood's big night," 10 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for vegetarianism

Time Traveler

The first known use of vegetarianism was circa 1848

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Statistics for vegetarianism

Last Updated

13 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vegetarianism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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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