Originally Posted by Paradox
Who were those people and where does it say how it was meant to be used?
Anyway, how a word is currently understood is far more relevant than how it once was.
The Vegetarian society claims to have coined the word in the early to mid 1800's, from the Latin word "vegetus" (lively). There is some evidence the word might have been used prior to that, but they formally defined it at this time with the meaning I gave, and certainly popularised it, promulgated it, and are the reason we use it today rather than using something like "Pythagorean".
I agree with you on this point, which is why I hate fish-eating vegetarians. It does
matter when you use a word loosely, it does end up changing the meaning of a word. This can be seen in the evolution of the word from meaning "plant-based diet" to "non-flesh diet". Sometimes evolving words are good, sometimes not, I don't want to see "vegetarian" further diluted to include fish, for example.
The reason I spoke up was not to say that people were wrong, I use "vegetarian" to include egg and cheese eaters myself, but that I felt Dunestrider was feeling kind of attacked (and that was before I read his "not posting here again" post). I felt a lot of the "You are wrong, you can't change the meaning of a word" posts were just going a little far. He's not wrong at all, the way he uses it is a correct definition. He didn't change it or make up that meaning himself, The Vegetarian Society did in the 1800's. He's quite correct. The people like me who use it to mean cheese-eaters are correct, too. Words often have several meanings.