Type A GABA receptors (GABA(A)Rs) are well established as the main inhibitory receptors in the mature mammalian forebrain. In recent years, evidence has accumulated showing that GABA(A)Rs are prevalent not only in the somatodendritic compartment of CNS neurons, but also in their axonal compartment. Evidence for axonal GABA(A)Rs includes new immunohistochemical and immunogold data: direct recording from single axonal terminals; and effects of local applications of GABA(A)R modulators on action potential generation, on axonal calcium signalling, and on neurotransmitter release. Strikingly, whereas presynaptic GABA(A)Rs have long been considered inhibitory, the new studies in the mammalian brain mostly indicate an excitatory action. Depending on the neuron that is under study, axonal GABA(A)Rs can be activated by ambient GABA, by GABA spillover, or by an autocrine action, to increase either action potential firing and/or transmitter release. In certain neurons, the excitatory effects of axonal GABA(A)Rs persist into adulthood. Altogether, axonal GABA(A)Rs appear as potent neuronal modulators of the mammalian CNS.