Public Services and Procurement Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Important notice

Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

vegan, vegetarian

The terms vegan and vegetarian are not synonyms. A vegan diet excludes all animal products. A vegetarian traditionally abstains from eating meat but may consume eggs and dairy products.


The word vegan (pronounced VEE-guhn) was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society. The word is derived from the first three and last two letters of the word vegetarian. A vegan eats a plant-based diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts, but consumes no red meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, eggs or honey. See the list below for the names of different types of vegans.

  • fruitarian: A vegan who eats mainly fruits.
  • juicearian: A vegan who drinks mainly fresh vegetable and fruit juices.
  • sproutarian: A vegan who eats mainly sprouts.
  • raw vegan: A vegan who eats no food cooked above 48 degrees Celsius. Synonym: raw foodist.
  • freegan (from "free vegan"): A vegan who is opposed to purchasing food and tries instead to obtain food by gardening, bartering or foraging.

    Although freegans often practise veganism, they may sometimes eat meat if it is free and would otherwise have been wasted. Freegans who occasionally eat free meat are called meagans.


The word vegetarian is formed from the beginning of the word vegetable and the suffix "-arian," which means "a believer or advocate." A vegetarian is a person who eats a plant-based diet. Some vegetarians also eat animal products; others do not. All vegetarians exclude red meat from their diet. See the list below for the names of different types of vegetarians.

  • ovovegetarian (from Latin ovum, "egg"): A vegetarian who eats eggs, but not dairy products.
  • lacto vegetarian (from Latin lactis, "milk"): A vegetarian who eats dairy products, but not eggs. Synonym: lactarian.
  • ovo-lacto vegetarian: A vegetarian who eats both eggs and dairy products.
  • flexitarian (from "flexible vegetarian"): A vegetarian who occasionally eats meat. Synonym: semi-vegetarian.
  • pescetarian (from Italian pesce, "fish"; also spelled pescatarian): A vegetarian who eats fish and seafood but does not eat poultry or red meat.
  • pollotarian (from Latin pollo, "chicken"): A vegetarian who eats poultry but does not eat fish or red meat.
  • pollo-pescetarian: A vegetarian who eats poultry and fish but does not eat red meat.