A variety of names has been used in the literature for the subunits of cytoplasmic dynein complexes. Thus, there is a strong need for a more definitive consensus statement on nomenclature. This is especially important for mammalian cytoplasmic dyneins, many subunits of which are encoded by multiple genes. We propose names for the mammalian cytoplasmic dynein subunit genes and proteins that reflect the phylogenetic relationships of the genes and the published studies clarifying the functions of the polypeptides. This nomenclature recognizes the two distinct cytoplasmic dynein complexes and has the flexibility to accommodate the discovery of new subunits and isoforms.