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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 May 6 at 14:49
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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.

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Wikipedia distinguishes them like this:

维根主义(英语:Veganism)

and

素食主义(英语:vegetarianism)

维根 here is a transliterated loanword from English.


Wikipedia also offers the translation:

纯素主义

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 May 8 at 7:28
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A informal way to say it:
vegetarian: 蛋奶素 vegan: 純素

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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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