Quantification of the dialysis dose and assessment of nutritional status and response to nutritional therapy have become standard parts of the management of the chronic dialysis patient. Although advances in these areas have led to a more rational basis for therapy, certain misconceptions and points of confusion appear to have occurred. Recognizing the importance of a standard nomenclature to the development of concepts and the communication of research findings, we have attempted to compile a list of terms that are commonly used in the field of dialysis. New terms have been proposed for current ones that do not seem adequate. In addition, we have discussed potential methodologies for obtaining more accurate data for dialysis kinetics and for precise monitoring of nutritional intake and status. It is hoped that this glossary will stimulate discussion that will lead to refinements in terminology and concepts that will, in turn, improve research and practice in nephrology. It is anticipated that many of these definitions and recommendations will be modified or superseded as the management of patients with renal failure continues to advance.