There are, of course, many ethical and health controversies surrounding vegetarianism in all its different forms, but we wanted to know – where did the words come from? Who invented “veganism”?

Vegetarianism has been around for a very long time. Some historians date it back to Ancient Greek philosophers, and religious sects of Buddhism and Hinduism have encouraged vegetarianism for hundreds of years. However, the word itself came into common usage in the 1830s. During this era, vegetarianism was associated with religious conservatives, some of whom also campaigned for the temperance movement to ban alcohol. (To this day, the Church of the Seventh-Day Adventists encourages a vegetarian diet.)

It is not completely clear who invented the word “vegetarian.” It may have been the founders of the British Vegetarian Society in 1847. Regardless, its linguistic roots are very clear. The Latin word “vegetābilis” meant “lively or animating” and came to describe foods that made one lively or animated. The suffix “–arian” changes an adjective into a personal noun, as in librarian or veterinarian. From the 1840s onward, the word was in common English usage. (What actually makes a vegetable? Or a fruit? Learn more.)

Why “vegan” though? Where did that short word that connotes radical vegetarians come from? Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society, coined the word “vegan” in 1944 as a statement against vegetarians who ate dairy products. He took the first and last letters of the word vegetarian to create his orthodox version of vegetarianism. Today, as many as 10% of American adults say they follow a vegetarian-inclined diet, but only 1% of them are strict vegans.

Most people who describe themselves as vegetarians are technically lacto-ovo-vegetarians; that is they eat eggs and milk. If you want to get really specific in describing your diet, you could use some of these terms: pollotarians (if you eat chicken, but not meat from mammals), pescetarians (if you eat fish), freegan (if you eat food only when it’s free).

Recently, a new word has entered the dietary lexicon: flexitarian. Though the term dates was invented in the 1990s, only in the past few years has it acquired common currency. The first flexitarian cookbook came out in 2008. Celebrity chef Mark Bittman advocates for a “plant-based diet” meaning one that focuses on plants but can include a little meat.

Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma uses a different nomenclature to talk about similar issues. By calling us “omnivores,” Pollan suggests that we should not be herbivores (or carnivores, for that matter). The language he uses closely resembles the words that biologists use to talk about animals. Owls are carnivores; rabbits are herbivores. As with most attributes, though, we prefer to have different adjectives to describe the same behavior in animals and in humans.

What do you think about inventing new words to describe how and what we eat?

Carolinas Go to Market with $250 Million in Hospital Bonds.

The Bond Buyer March 21, 2001 | DeSue, Tedra More than $250 million of hospital revenue bonds are being issued for two major hospitals in the Carolinas this week, and the proceeds will be used for projects that will likely improve their dominance in their respected areas.

The Greenville, S.C., Hospital System yesterday sold $100 million of bonds: $38.2 million in the 2026 maturity with a 5.5% coupon, priced to yield 5.20%, and $61.8 million in the 2031 maturity with a coupon of 5%, priced to yield 5.28%. The North Carolina Medical Care Commission today sells $150 million of bonds for Wake Medical Center in Raleigh. web site greenville memorial hospital

Both hospitals have a dominant market share of more than 50% in strong and growing service areas.

Salomon Smith Barney Inc. was the book-running senior manager for the sale of the GHS bonds, which are insured by Ambac Assurance Corp. Merrill Lynch & Co. is the book-runner on the deal for the Wake Medical Center bonds, which are also insured by Ambac.

The GHS bonds will be used to fund several projects, including a major expansion at the main campus of the system’s flagship Greenville Memorial Hospital, said Susan Bichel, the system’s vice president of financial services. A new patient tower will be built to consolidate all cardiology services, and more obstetric rooms will also be added, she said.

Roughly $12 million will be used for reimbursement of capital previously spent on the project, and the remaining proceeds will be used for renovation projects and equipment throughout the system.

The hospital is located in upstate Greenville County, which has a strong, diverse and growing economic base. That contributed to the underlying investment-grade ratings the bonds received. They were rated Aa3 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA by both Fitch and Standard & Poor’s. web site greenville memorial hospital

Moody’s analyst Lisa Goldstein noted that yesterday’s sale represented a sizable increase in leverage. The agency believed that the strong fundamentals enjoyed by the hospital system should allow for a stable trend of debt-service coverage over the near term.

The bonds are secured by a gross revenue pledge of GHS and a guaranty of GHS’ obligations by an endowment fund. Standard & Poor’s noted that GHS is the sole member of the obligated group and none of the other affiliates are obligated on the debt.

Bob Fitzgerald, the assistant secretary for the North Carolina Medical Care Commission, said the Wake Medical System, like the GHS system, has managed to do well financially despite the troubles so many are having nationwide.

“This is the largest hospital serving Wake County,” Fitzgerald said. “There are three hospitals in this market and in spite of the competition, WakeMed remains a strong performer. Everything looks solid, and there are no serious concerns.” Proceeds from the bonds will be used for various improvements, including several expansion projects of a WakeMed affiliate, Western Wake in Cary.

Bonds were last issued for the hospital in 1999, when $37 million of variable-debt was sold. WakeMed’s outstanding bonds are only rated by Standard & Poor’s, which gave them an underlying rating of AA.

DeSue, Tedra


  1. jason ross -  January 29, 2013 - 6:23 am

    Seriously though. I have a date with a vegan tonight. Than Thank you

  2. jason ross -  January 28, 2013 - 6:29 pm

    Plants are not creatures. or brain an or brain and brainstem, so ts safe to say they do not experience pain. Or sadness if you kill its sapling. Lol.just biomechanical responses to external stimulation. But i do call my plants ladies.they dont talk back though, shannyn.

  3. jason ross -  January 28, 2013 - 6:11 pm

    Read it all. I think i want to be a freeflexapollotarian. Thats i want to start eating mostly free vegetable based foods with minimle non chicken meat, but larger amounts of chicken??

  4. Subha Parasu -  May 16, 2012 - 11:22 pm

    Can the term flexitarian closely means omnivore then why again a new word?

  5. Mike -  March 19, 2012 - 10:39 pm

    Arthur, I totally agree with your sentiment about the vegetarian/vegan label being pompous “I’m-better-than-you” behavior in their users; some are genuine adherents, but most i fear use these labels to serve radical political ends of attacking traditionalists.

    Also, I resent vegetarians/vegans co-opting traditional food names for their own ends: hotdogs made of soybeans?! No, then it’s NOT a HOTDOG! Call it Tube-O-Soy if you will, but leave the word HOTDOG alone!

  6. Salon Masaj Erotic -  March 10, 2012 - 2:29 am

    It’s pleasing to entrap a glimpse of that hotshot believe the repose and all modus vivendi = ‘lifestyle’ as I do. Provisions blogging my party consort and peradventure someday we can forgather to the preponderate a beer or something.
    I soak up added your blog on my punchy catalogue of readed blogs.

  7. Shannyn -  March 7, 2012 - 5:28 pm

    As far as I’m concerned, all humans are omnivores. We have the teeth that say so. The thing that frustrates me about vegetarians/vegans is that a lot of them don’t eat meat because it’s ‘cruel to animals’. Plants are living things too.

    In saying that, I do think that humans over-farm. Life would be better if everyone just took what they needed.

  8. Chelle -  February 16, 2012 - 8:45 pm

    I really like “flexitarian” …which is my eating style and which my spell-check doesn’t recognize, of course. I would guess most of us have a far larger vocabulary than our spell-checks, in large part due to medical terms in my case, but they’re still handy for typo correction.

    Oh, for those of you who do not know, Dic.com will give you an exceedingly rude “slow down” ORDER if you post more than once in a “sitting” so make sure you get everything you want to say out in one go so you don’t catch a scold …pun intended. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s being ordered about by software for the “sin” of a second post in a 20-30 minute time period. *grins*

    Cheers, wordies!

  9. Kathleen -  February 8, 2012 - 8:31 pm

    This is interesting!

  10. Carlitos -  February 5, 2012 - 11:51 pm

    @Laura on January 29, 2012 at 8:13 am
    “Granted I’m in California, however, I know quite a few more vegetarians and vegans than these statistics allow. Personally, I try to only eat meat that has been ethically cared for. Is there a name for that. If not, I’m sure there will be.”

    –Good for you! There is no name for this. Only some adjectives, such as “informed, consciencious, progressive and aware!”

  11. jend -  February 5, 2012 - 5:14 pm

    I don’t really know a simple word like you all do but I got lucky from this site which got my interest senses and makes me enjoy studying lots of words.

  12. Brijesh -  February 3, 2012 - 12:31 am

    I am a flexitarian but inclined more on vegetarian diet. Being a Hindu, our culture & religious background directs us to be pure vegetarian. But, since decades I have seen many families having a mixed diet.

    On an average, I eat chicken twice a months or red meat once a month and eggs 3-4 times a month. Our regular food is vegetarian only. I sometimes called my self as “eggetarian” but coinage of word may be slightly misplaced.

    Can anyone throw more light on whether milk is a vegetarian product or not? (as it is obtained from an animal)

  13. missa -  February 2, 2012 - 7:49 am

    I am getting such a kick out of these comments! Some people are very witty and it is actually more fun reading the comments than the article. I don’t mind new words, but some people get carried away … it’s only a good word if it’s self-explanatory.

  14. smoothius -  January 31, 2012 - 7:20 am

    omnivore works for me but if there must be a new word how ’bout ieatwhateveriwantian, or maybe itsallgoodean. i love almost all vegetables and usually eat them first off my plate, but there really is no finer taste than a juicy steak
    i am a lifelong member of P.E.T.A. (People Eating Tasty Animals)

  15. Vicaari -  January 30, 2012 - 2:19 pm

    Nice! The idea of thinking and making up a new name regarding what is being discussed is common to many. Some ppl have knack….

    @Mackenzie: in a yes…pollotarian part that is. Originally, Spanish is from Latin like French, so, pollo… I think more of Latin, perhaps

    @ Adam: You are so very right, it looks! Human beings are not only animals, they are @ the top of echelon. Another reality, I think, we human beings belong to special kind of apes that had speechability or thinkability [NB: Speechability/thinkability...I coined new terms]; it is not just the apes we see in the zoo, possibly

    @firstcommenter: Heavens!!! These freegans, must be coined by the vegan ones, do exist; they are roaming @ the lap of Himalayas [Him=snow/ice & alaya=lap, for when the ancient ppl came down south (India) from north from Caucasus Mountain, that what remineded them of. They saw snow/him... on the lap/sprawling sides on a mighty mountain; Himalaya is Sanskrit].
    Today upon reading I learned the term freegans for the first time and instantly I could thought of none but those ppl, and they are so very thin they look like sticks. These are munis/rshis & such and you see them in In India. Also, there many here there everywhere whose livelyhood depends on begging; Buddhists monks are that too; however, they look kind of healthy. Let me give you a secret… my name uptop connotes that, as if I am that, yet not… yet.

    Thank you enjoyed the article, for today’s article I’ve found very interactive.

  16. TETO -  January 30, 2012 - 1:02 pm


  17. Joann -  January 30, 2012 - 10:23 am

    Choosing not to eat animals has not to do w/ a “self-righteous” attitude. Just my personal opinion that other species may not look like me but still wan’t to live as much as I might.
    Today’s exposure about the surreal suffering & slaughter of factory farmed creatures sealed it for me, though vegetarian is just an easy lable that trivializes deep convictions in some humans.
    The word also includes people who avoid eating animal flesh strictly for their own health reasons without interest in animals.

  18. Joann -  January 30, 2012 - 9:28 am

    No need to get annoyed in restaurants if you just skip the, “I’m a vegetarian” announcement & go straight to question of whether or not the vegetable soup is made with chicken broth.
    Another option is to find a vegetarian restaurant & not have to ask at all.

  19. David -  January 30, 2012 - 7:24 am

    Meatatarian… mmmmmm… porkchops….. nomnomnomnom….

  20. AL-ANON -  January 30, 2012 - 7:20 am

    Vegetable and soy farming inadvertently kills millions of small animals and birds a year. Look it up before you eat your self-righteous salad.
    Anyways, for every animal you don’t eat – I’ll eat three.

  21. Arthur N E Moore -  January 29, 2012 - 9:59 pm

    I think that designations that denote what you you eat and don’t eat are inherently anti-social and pompous. They were coined to give people a false sense of importance, especially when used to introduce themselves to others. What could be less important about a person than what they eat? That they’re overweight, gay, black, white, or mentally ill? Vegan? “Hello, I am a flatulent, bean-eating, carrot-munching vegan trying to point out to you my disgust at your diet of animal flesh by calling myself thus?” We have enough phrases that differentiate ourselves from others unnecessarily. Terms like vegan only serve to inflate our egos beyond the significance of diet. By the way, yes, I was a vegetarian for 14 years before I woke up and realized that I was an obsessive-compulsive zealot in search of ways to lord it over my family and peers. Let’s all just have friendly meals with one another without worrying about our opinions of what we are eating….

  22. Shane -  January 29, 2012 - 7:48 pm

    Oh… i see…. nice information….but i”m not a vegan….hehehehhe

  23. Allie -  January 29, 2012 - 6:41 pm

    The ethical controversies around vegetarianism and veganism do not include saying that it is controversial to not eat meat. The controversy is with the people that protest against people who do eat meat. The first sentence is just an opener to get your attention, you don’t have to bash it just because you misinterpreted it.

  24. Bonnie -  January 29, 2012 - 6:38 pm

    Hmmmm… what would you call a person who eats “anything that’s not nailed down”?

1 2 3

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked (required):

Related articles

Back to Top