Although kimberlite pipes/bodies are usually the remains of volcanic vents, in-vent deposits, and subvolcanic intrusions, the terminology used for kimberlite rocks has largely developed independently of that used in mainstream volcanology. Existing kimberlite terminology is not descriptive and includes terms that are rarely used, used differently, and even not used at all in mainstream volcanology. In addition, kimberlite bodies are altered to varying degrees, making application of genetic terminology difficult because original components and depositional textures are commonly masked by alteration. This paper recommends an approach to the terminology for kimberlite rocks that is consistent with usage for other volcanic successions. In modem terrains the eruption and emplacement origins of deposits can often be readily deduced, but this is often not the case for old, variably altered and deformed rock successions. A staged approach is required whereby descriptive terminology is developed first, followed by application of genetic terminology once all features, including the effects of alteration on original texture and depositional features, together with contact relationships and setting, have been evaluated. Because many volcanic successions consist of both primary volcanic deposits as well as volcanic sediments, terminology must account for both possibilities. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved.