Monday, March 17, 2008

I <3 AWAD: Vegan

Let it be known that I have an odd obsession with words. I adore etymology and learning new vocabulary.

Felonious, fie, duodenum, lexicon, misanthrope, beset, triskaidekaphobia, discombobulate, luciferous, and many others find themselves flying out of my mouth whenever I can reasonably squeeze them into the conversation merely because I delight in how they feel knocking against my teeth and sliding off my tongue. I love how they sound. Plus I dig ruminating on, and sometimes sharing, their origin.

It is due to our shared logolepsy, I'm sure, that my favorite snarkster told me about AWAD years ago. These are my peeps! The New York Times calls AWAD (A Word A Day), "The most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass e-mail in cyberspace." Every day, you receive a new word in your inbox, accompanied with its definition, etymology, examples, and often times, anecdotes. Every week brings a different theme. This week, the theme is veganism. Squee!

So, in honor of AWAD and in the name of linguistic elucidation, I'll be posting each AWAD this week. Please, consider subscribing because words = love. On with the show!


Guest wordsmith Matt Ball (veganpa at writes:

Growing up, I was a big fan of Carl Sagan, and I dreamed of exploring the universe, expanding the frontier of human knowledge and vision. I started my college to become a rocket scientist, with the plan of working for NASA.

But fate intervened on the first day of college when I met my roommate, a big, strong guy, who was not shy about explaining his vegetarianism or what hidden realities my eating meat supported. After a false start, I went vegetarian -- I simply found the cruelties of meat production too severe to continue to rationalize away.

Shortly thereafter, I met Jack Norris and started learning more about animal exploitation in this world. I decided I needed to do more than be a vegetarian. With ten other activists, Jack and I held a three-day Fast for Farm Animals in front of a Cincinnati slaughterhouse (three days being the amount of time farmed animals often go without food before slaughter). After the fast, Jack and I formed a group which eventually became Vegan Outreach, dedicated to preventing the most suffering possible.

You can order a free copy of our Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating.

(This week's guest wordsmith Matt Ball is co-founder and executive director of the non-profit organization Vegan Outreach.)

vegan (VEE-guhn) noun

One who does not consume animal products.


Made with no animal ingredients.

[Coined in 1944 by Donald Watson (1910-2005) to describe a "non-dairy vegetarian"; formed from the first three and last two letters of the word vegetarian.]

Today's word in Visual Thesaurus.

"Kitsch, lively and glamorous, Canadian food writer Sarah Kramer bucks all the vegan stereotypes."Leonie Cooper; The Garden of Vegan; The Guardian (London, UK); Feb 6, 2008.

X-Bonus: The fire which enlightens is the same fire which consumes. -Henri Frederic Amiel, philosopher and writer (1821-1881)

No comments: