Vegetarian, non-vegetarian and in-between...?

Is there a word in-between "vegetarian" and "non-vegetarian"? Is there a different type of style of eating?

I want to know the word in English.

  • There are many varieties of food restriction, and many varieties where that restriction is related to how the food comes from animals. There are religious restrictions (kosher, halal, lenten, Jain), and other forms of not eating animal products veganism, fruitarianism
    – Mitch
    Aug 28, 2016 at 21:48
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Aug 29, 2016 at 12:06
  • Are you trying to find a word that corresponds to this concept that already exists in your language? Or do you know hat such words exist in English but just can't remember what they are?
    – Mitch
    Aug 29, 2016 at 13:03
  • 1
    Just closing the loop on this. There's been an extended discussion about how to interpret this question and interact with it. The conclusion is that you're primarily asking about the names given to various forms of non-meat eating 'styles', which we may loosely call variants of vegetarianism. Most of the answers below have assumed something along those lines. Have a look also at the list compiled at wikipedia.
    – Lawrence
    Aug 29, 2016 at 13:03
  • 1

7 Answers 7



noun 1. a person whose diet is mostly vegetarian but sometimes includes meat, fish, or poultry.

Also called semi-vegetarianWikipedia

Specific flexitarian diets include:

  • Pollotarian: someone who eats chicken or other poultry, but not meat from mammals, often for environmental, health or food justice reasons.

  • Pescetarian: someone who eats fish and/or other seafood, but not poultry or meat from mammals.

  • Pesco-pollo: someone who eats both poultry and fish/seafood, though no meat from mammals.

  • The macrobiotic diet is plant-based, and may or may not include the occasional addition of fish or other seafood

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Aug 29, 2016 at 12:06

Semi-vegetarian is used (often in the same sense as flexitarian).

You can distinguish subspecies, like pescetarian (allowing fish and seafood with a vegetarian diet) is attested in Merriam-Webster since 1993.

More subtle, pollotarian has few occurrences (Urban Dictionary, Pollotarian diet), varying between "adding poultry only" to vegetarian, and "eating chicken, fish, dairy products and eggs".

Then, you have lacto-vegetarians (consuming dairy products, no eggs), ovo-vegetarians (eggs, no dairy) and lacto-ovo-vegetarians (eggs+diary products).

  • 1
    Flexitarian, aside from sounding pretentious, has the additional disadvantage of being meaningless to about 99% of the population.
    – Jeremy
    Aug 29, 2016 at 13:20
  • @Jeremy Indeed! There even are hemivegetarians (which I might add for completeness) Aug 29, 2016 at 13:39
  1. Pollo - Vegetarian
  2. Pesco - Vegetarian
  3. Lacto - Ovo - Vegetarian
  4. Lacto- Vegetarian
  5. Ovo - Vegetarian

Source: http://www.gaiam.com/discover/209/article/vegan-vegetarian-macrobiotic-whats-difference/

  • 3
    I thought "vegetarian" with no qualifiers normally included milk + eggs. Would you say/write Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian only if you're talking about different kinds of vegetarianism, and want to make it explicit? Aug 29, 2016 at 3:07
  • 1
    @PeterCordes I think so. Non-ovo non-lacto vegetarian is pretty much vegan.
    – Adeptus
    Aug 29, 2016 at 4:14
  • 3
    @Adeptus: Yes, mostly, but you have a lot of little edge cases like honey.
    – Kevin
    Aug 29, 2016 at 5:00
  • My experience in a descriptive, rather than prescriptive sense is that "vegetarian", unqualified means whatever the largest block of people not eating red meat in the local culture do. So ovo-lacto vegetarian in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada and Australia, but potentially different in Asia, where it might include not eating onions if connected with some sects of Buddhism and in parts of Europe where if can include fish and even bacon.
    – origimbo
    Aug 29, 2016 at 11:38

Part-Time Vegetarian comes to mind..

A person not fully committed to a cause but only when some personal circumstance allows; often but not all the time.

'Always unless Mom is cooking' maybe or 'Only on weekdays.'

The Part-Time Vegetarian - WebMD:

I call myself a "part-time" vegetarian because, while I do eat meat, I like to eat vegetarian meals often.


Flexitarians: Can You Be a Part-Time Vegetarian? ..restaurants will someday offer enough meatless entrees to satisfy vegetarians whether they're part-time or 100 percent committed. ..



Collins Dictionary's status is pending. But it has defined eggetarian as

A vegetarian who also eats eggs and egg products.

Urban Dictionary defines eggetarian as,

A person who follows a near vegan diet but consumes eggs.

In India, we have strictly vegetarians and also vegetarians who started eating egg products. Those persons will be called eggetarians since even now, we consider egg as an item which is neither veg item nor a non-veg item.

  • 3
    I'd recommend using a better dictionary than Urban Dictionary. That way, people will upvote your answer more. :)
    – NVZ
    Aug 29, 2016 at 10:24

No, there is not, at least to my knowledge.

The answers "semi-vegetarian", "flexitarian", "part-time vegetarian" all describe non-vegetarians. So do "carnivore" or "omnivore". As soon as a person easts meat, or fish, or meat on Sunday's, or salami on 23 November every year, they are not a vegetarian any more.

Being vegetarian is a binary case — either you never eat food that is made from animal parts, or you do. The description "I never eat animals, but only partly" makes no sense.

(See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism and https://www.vegsoc.org/definition)

  • 1
    I sympathize with this view, but it doesn't hold up in actual, real-world English usage. Even the term vegan, which seems to have been invented specifically to be used the way you say vegetarian should be used, has kind of branched out and actually could mean several different things. (It's still both more precise and more strict in dietary terms than vegetarian though, and is the closest to what you consider "vegetarian".)
    – John Y
    Aug 29, 2016 at 14:37
  • 2
    I don't see how your links to Wikipedia and the Vegetarian Society support your case. Both of them acknowledge that there are several "varieties" of vegetarians, some of which openly and deliberately eat animal flesh.
    – John Y
    Aug 29, 2016 at 14:42
  • 1
    @JohnY Both emphasize that a vegetarian does not eat meat. Vegetarian society: "A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or by-products of slaughter." They have a banner on the page saying "Whichever way you cut it - vegetarians don't eat fish". Wikipedia about semi-vegetarians: "Individuals sometimes label themselves "vegetarian" while practicing a semi-vegetarian diet" (indicating the contradiction) and further below: "Semi-vegetarianism is contested by vegetarian groups, such as the Vegetarian Society, which states that vegetarianism excludes all animal flesh". Aug 30, 2016 at 10:24
  • 1
    @JohnY Regarding the word "vegan" in actual, real-world English usage: I've never heard it being used to describe a person who eats diary products, neither by vegans, nor by vegetarians. Vegan people are usually quite precise about the exclusion of diary products from their diet. Aug 30, 2016 at 10:31
  • I never said that some vegans eat dairy products. I said that when you hear someone say vegan, they could mean something different than someone else who also says vegan. For example, a person may engage in a vegan diet without subscribing to any particular vegan philosophy. Also, some vegans abstain from using animal-derived clothing (and they would consider this part of their definition of veganism) while other vegans do not have this restriction. So, as I said, it is more precise than vegetarian, but not without variation.
    – John Y
    Aug 30, 2016 at 14:13

The wonders of diet lifestyles

  1. Inedia, but better known as breatharian: People who consume air, and only air. (I kid you not)
  2. rawist: a person who only eats raw vegetables, fruit, and non-processed products
  3. fruitarian: (direct citation) A variant of vegetarian who intends to be limited to eating only such parts of plants whose consumption does not kill the plant (such as fruits, vegetables that can be compared to fruit, nuts and grain, but not for example tubers). The purest fruitarians do not want to destroy even the seeds.
  4. herbivore: an animal that eats only plants (the OP didn't exclude animals)
  5. carnivore: a person or animal who regularly eats dead animal flesh, raw or cooked. This doesn't exclude the consumption of products that are not derived from animals, so I will argue that the flexibility of this word fits in nicely between vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism.
  6. kangatarian a person who doesn't eat any meat or fish except kangaroo.
  7. cameltarian a vegetarian who eats only camel meat for ethical and environmental reasons.
  • 3
    How does a carnivore is in between vegetarian and non-vegetarian? Even a non-vegetarian may eat lot of products that are not derived from animals. But that doesn't take out the fact that the person is a non-vegetarian. Aug 29, 2016 at 10:32
  • @NagarajanShanmuganathan I might argue that a flexitarian encompasses anyone who occasionally eats meat.
    – user193059
    Aug 29, 2016 at 10:54
  • So do you say that flexitarian and carnivore mean the same? Aug 29, 2016 at 10:55
  • The two terms are not identical. But to be a carnivore does not mean you consume meat at every meal. It's more flexible than that, I don't see why I cannot call myself a part-time vegetarian, if I eat red meat once a week, while remaining a carnivore.
    – user193059
    Aug 29, 2016 at 10:59
  • Actually @Bluewoman, I disagree, carnivore does exclude the consumption of food that isn't flesh or animal derived. When Wikitionary uses the "informal" label, they mean it's not technically a proper sense of the word. It's technically just contextual hyperbole. In proper speech, you'd use the word omnivore to classify animals as eating both. I'll be voting against this answer but I'll redact it if it's edited to be more accurate, and maybe even vote for it with better in-line citation. It may even be the word our questioner wants.
    – Tonepoet
    Aug 29, 2016 at 19:48

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.