International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Why “Flexitarian” Was a Word of the Year: Carno-phallogocentrism and the Lexicon of Vegetable-Based Diets
Gregory James Flail

In 2004, the American Dialect Society gave the term "flexitarian" an award for being “most useful.” This article explores the language of food in American culture and suggests that "flexitarian" does indeed serve a useful purpose in helping Americans conceptualize a way of eating that places less emphasis on meat in the diet and more emphasis on vegetable-based meals. The term provides a cultural middle ground between the typically American over-reliance on meaty meals and the more radical approach of vegetarians. The connotations of terms for vegetable-based diets are considered in light of American attitudes toward food and gender.

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