Pathologists and pediatric hematologist/ oncologists of the World Health Organization's Committee on Histiocytic/Reticulum Cell Proliferations and the Reclassification Working Group of the Histiocyte Society present a classification of the histiocytic disorders that primarily affect children. Nosology, based on the lineage of lesional cells and biological behavior, is related to the ontogeny of histiocytes (macrophages and dendritic cells of the immune system). Dendritic cell-related disorders of varied biological behavior are dominated by Langerhans cell histiocytosis, but separate secondary proliferations of dendritic cells must be differentiated. Juvenile xanthogranuloma represents a disorder of dermal dendrocytes, another dendritic cell of skin. The hemophagocytic syndromes are the most common of the macrophage-related disorders of varied biological behavior. Guidelines for distinguishing the exceedingly rare malignant diseases of histiocytes from large cell lymphomas through the use of a battery of special studies are provided.