I'd like to know whether there is a way to distinguish vegetarian from vegan in Chinese or is the only word available 素食者?

  • Most people in China don’t understand the difference.
    – Blaszard
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 14:49

4 Answers 4


vegetarianism 素食主义 means no animals for meals.

veganism 纯素主义 means no animals for meals or clothes.

However, these words are not popular in China. I don't think Chinese people even understand those jargons.

You'd better say 我不吃肉 (I don't eat meat) if you are a vegetarian, and you'd better say 我不吃肉,连衣服也不用动物制品 (I don't eat meat, not even animals for clothes) if you are a vegan.

  • But veganism is as much about not having eggs or dairy as it is about not wearing wool or silk.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 9:04

Wikipedia distinguishes them like this:




维根 here is a transliterated loanword from English.

Wikipedia also offers the translation:


for veganism.

Although these words, may, work in their written forms - you might generally not be understood using these words colloquially, because nobody really talks like this. Better alternatives would be:

  • 不吃肉 = vegetarianism
  • 不吃动物(产)品 = veganism
  • vegetarian = 不吃肉。 vegan = 既不吃肉,也不用肉。
    – Victor
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 7:28

A informal way to say it:
vegetarian: 蛋奶素 vegan: 純素


see online dictionaries, e.g. linguee: vegan food 纯素食 ​ veganism, a diet consisting solely of plant products 纯素食主义 ​ a vegan 纯素食者 iciba:vegan n. 严格的素食主义者; n. A strict vegetarian; ​confirm: bkrs:纯素食vegan vegan food

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