I was recently thinking about what it means to be count as a vegetarian, but I think it's much harder than I originally thought. What does it mean to be a vegetarian? There are several cases where it isn't clear for me.
What if a self-proclaimed vegetarian accidentally consumes meat, for example because it was hidden inside other food, or they were lied to about the contents of a meal? Are they still vegetarian?
Is a person who just happens not to eat any meat, without having any sort of personal rules about eating meat (perhaps because of poverty, lack of interest or sheer coincidence), a vegetarian?
If a vegetarian consents to eating meat meat once, it seems they stop being a vegetarian (or maybe never were?); when do they become a vegetarian again, if they don't eat any meat afterwards? Is there a time limit?
If a person wants to avoid eating meat but is occasionally and predictably pressured into eating meat by their friends or family, are they only sometimes a vegetarian, or never one?
I hope these questions aren't too silly...