I have been searching online for a term that covers 'meat, fish & poultry' but have had no luck. Just wondering if anyone knows of a term?


If I was to sell a curry for example but offered meat, fish or poultry, how could I say, select the meat or what meat would you like. I have thought about 'select contents' but not sure if that's right or 'select filling'.

Thanks in advance

  • 4
    Related / of interest: Usage of word “meat”.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 14:49
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    Since you seem to believe that the word meat does not include fish and poultry, could you please tell us what your definition of meat is? Is it limited to mammals- i.e. cows, pigs, and sheep? (My own definition includes all edible animal parts regardless of species or location within the body.)
    – cobaltduck
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 14:58
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    Fish and poultry are types of meat, so the answer is just meat. If you sell a curry with a choice of beef, lamb, mutton, salmon, or chicken, “Select your meat” would be the most natural-sounding phrase to use. If you also offer tofu and lentils as options, that’s tougher. Contents doesn’t work (all the other ingredients are also contents), nor does filling or topping (would work for a sandwich or pizza, but not a curry). Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 16:01
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    Up-voted. 'Meat' commonly refers to red meat, therefore to mammals. 'White meat' refers to poultry. Fish are just fish. Archaically 'meat' referred to the contents of a meal which was more than just bread, so included fish and poultry but since that meaning is now archaic and rare, we have no generic word. Good question.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 16:52
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    I was thinking of A word that can be used to reference both a meat and a non meat food item which is very close but not a duplicate IMO.
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 20:14

2 Answers 2


I can't find a good example menu at the moment, but I have been in several restaurants where they refer to this category as "protein" or "proteins."



EDIT: As was noted in the comments, the term "proteins" is generally broader than just different types of animal flesh, to include things such as beans and eggs. However, in the restaurant setting, where a limited set of options is simply being categorized for convenience, I think it should be sufficiently descriptive.

  • A restaurant near my office refers to these as protein, although it includes tofu in that category, too. I still find it awkward and would say "meat or fish"; poultry is simply bird meat. (Yes, fish is simply fish meat, too, but most people differentiate between land animal meat and aquatic meat.) Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 20:30

The word you're looking for is meat itself. Merriam Webster defines it as

animal tissue considered especially as food

While meat sometimes only refers to red meat, it doesn't have to.

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