We often ask "Are you veg?", "Are you non-veg?" to ask if someone is a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian.

Is there a hypernym for both of them? So you could ask "What is your [...]?" or maybe "Are you a [...]?" In the same way we might ask for someone's gender.

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    Now we know the context, I would suggest perhaps "Vegetarian? Yes/No" for a field label. Altho' I am not a vegetarian, I do not eat a lot of meat, and I do like vegetables. I would certainly not want to be described as "nonveg". Altho' we know this is for a 'field', we still don't know the context. E.g. if it were being asked of a restaurant's (potential) customers, I think there is a real risk of it being misunderstood as asking whether they eat/want vegetables, especially if they are not fluent in English.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 13:29
  • Since the categorie are restricted to only a few choices (vegetarian, non-vegetarian, vegan), two of which are basically Yes or No for a singular term, a hypernym need not exist as the meaning gets accross simply with the use of the word 'vegetarian'.
    – akashg
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 9:40
  • I think "Food Type" should be good to go with. Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 15:22

3 Answers 3


I'm not sure why the confusion with the terms veg and non-veg. I live in the northeast US and I hear these terms as well as veggie with some frequency, although it might be because I hang with a vegan/vegetarian/omnivorous crowd where we ask about these things.

I don't have a hypernym specifically for meat-eating, but when I am hosting guests, I ask them if they have dietary restrictions or preferences or, in the case of my kosher/halal friends, strictures. These terms cover the gambit of differences in eating habits, so they would cover your terms as well.


I'm not very clear on your question because "veg" and "non-veg" are not words or phrases we use in English. IF you're referring to someone who does not eat meat, that is a vegetarian.

It is reasonable to ask "Are you a vegetarian?" or "Do you eat meat?" A more general way to ask is "Do you have any dietary restrictions?" or "Is there anything you don't eat?" There is no real conversational opposite to vegetarian, so we'd just say "I'm not a vegetarian."

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    +1 Also bearing in mind that the term "vegetarian" can be loosely interpreted, i.e. I never eat meat but I sometimes eat fish.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 7:42
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    @Mari-LouA Sometimes known as a pescetarian.
    – bib
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 10:58
  • ‘Carnivore’ is conversational enough, I’d say, and I’ve often heard it used as a sort-of antonym to ‘vegetarian’ (or any other part of the non-carnivore spectrum). @Mari-LouA, someone who eats fish is not a vegetarian, even if they claim they are or associate with the ‘vegetarian lifestyle’—if such a thing even exists. They may be termed pescetarians or semi-vegetarians, but not vegetarians. (This happens to be one of my pet peeves) Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 15:45
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I said "loosely interpreted" I know of many vegetarians who claim to be such but then eat a nice bowl of spaghetti with clams or mussels. :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 15:48
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    Yes, I know quite a few of those myself, and I am forever telling them that there is nothing whatsoever wrong or ‘lesser’ about being a pescetarian than being a vegetarian—but vegetarians are they none. :-) Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 15:52

I would ask someone about their

food preference

Or to be slightly more formal

dietary preference

or, as already suggested, inquire about more general

dietary restrictions

A lot depends on the context; when talking about recipes you don't need to be as careful about allergens, for example.


For those who are not familiar with the OP's use of the terms "veg" and "non-veg", they are standard terms in Indian English for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food; for example a restaurant sign might say "veg and non-veg" to indicate that they cater to people with both dietary preferences.

  • This is a good label because it's really. It as simple as meat preference yes or no.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 18:49

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