Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


someone who chooses not to eat anything derived from animals or fish, including eggs, milk, and cheese

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun vegan was coined in the middle of the 20th century to refer to someone whose diet contains no food of animal origin at all. It is formed from the first syllable of ‘vegetable’ and the suffix -an, used to form nouns or adjectives referring to someone who supports or practises something.


We are half way through January, and thus half way through Veganuary, the adoption for a month of a vegan diet by people who are not normally vegans. Since its inception in 2014 Veganuary has grown in popularity to the extent that over one third of a million people worldwide signed up to it this year, with many more undoubtedly following the diet without signing up. It is not known how many participants continue to follow a vegan diet after the month ends, and estimates of the numbers range widely. Veganuary is one of the factors that have increased the availability of vegan food in supermarkets and restaurants, with a much greater range of plant-based foods becoming readily available. Some food producers seize the opportunity Veganuary presents to grab a slice of the market by producing vegan versions of their most popular meat products, while some newspapers and magazines publish recipes for those wishing to prepare vegan food from scratch at home.


“Despite some persistent confusion, it is clear that vegetarians and vegans tend to have more optimal protein consumption than omnivores.”
(Jonathan Safran Foer)

A man of my spiritual intensity does not eat corpses.
(George Bernard Shaw)

Related words

vegetarian, flexitarian, pescetarian, fruitarian, veggie

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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