|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
|The earliest known uses of 'vegetable diet' ; 'vegetarian' and 'vegan'
Compiled by John Davis, IVU Manager and Historian, with help from members of the ivu-history email group
Appendix 1 to early uses of 'vegetarian'
The number of volumes containing 'vegetable diet' ; 'vegetarian' and 'vegan' (title only) in Google Books, by year of publication ( 'vegetable diet' has been individually checked to 1733, and 'vegetarian' to 1847 and 'vegan' to 1951 - otherwise all figures may include some transcription errors, and other garbage).
'Vegan' is only counted where it is in the title as the text too often refers to people from Las Vegan or the planet Vega etc etc.
It is worth noting that the longer phrase 'milk and vegetable diet' became noticeably more frequent in the USA, before 1850, than in Britain where it was more often just 'vegetable diet'. In general the Americans were being more accurate about what was actually being consumed.
The first known volumes using 'vegetable diet' :
1725: An Essay of health and long life (sixth edition) By George Cheyne (1671-1743), London 1725 (An Essay of health and long life - Page 184 - full view) [note: the 1st edition appears to have been 1724, see An Essay - link to archive.org - but whilst this makes many references to 'vegetable' and 'diet', it does not appear to be combined into the phrase 'vegetable diet' until the 6th edition.]
We can find no further use of the phrase until:
1731: An essay concerning the nature of aliments, and the choice of them, according to the different constitutions of human bodies: in which the different effects, advantages and disadvantages of animal and vegetable diet are explain'd, by John Arbuthnot Printed for J. Tonson in the Strand, 1731, 232 pages (An essay concerning the nature of aliments, and the choice of ... - no preview. Reprinted in 1732, still no preview. It might be included in a later compilation from 1770)
- both of the other books from 1731, presumably later in the year, refer to the above and quote from it, also confirming the date (The Present state of the republick of letters - Page 393 - and - : Historia litteraria: or, An exact and early account of the most ... - Page 379 , both full view)
We have so far found no earlier use of the phrase.
The word 'vegan' was invented in November 1944, and the first known book to use it was Vegan Recipes, 1946, by Fay K. Henderson