As a journalist with no formal education in geoscience, I try to maintain a balance by understanding what I’m writing about without becoming “too curious for my own good.” I’m not always successful. Yesterday, for instance, I was driving home thinking about reverse time migration (RTM) because the topic has, within the last couple of weeks, come up repeatedly. Being the naïf that I am, I got to wondering whether there might be a “reverse depth migration” on the horizon, much like prestack time migration gave way to prestack depth migration in the 1990s. I contacted one of my geoscience friends, who told me that, “in a perverse naming plot,” RTM actually is a form of depth migration. Who knew? (Other than geoscientists, of course!) It got me to thinking about all of the other jargon that I hear repeatedly that could, if anyone so chose, actually be sorta-kinda clear to the average listener/reader if it was just rendered into more common terminology. Another geoscientist friend once told me that geophysicists like to use big words because it makes them sound smarter than they really are. I’m not going to fully agree with this statement because I know an awful lot of really smart geophysicists. Still, I wonder how difficult this really needs to be. So in my almost 14 years of covering the exploration side of the business, I’d like to offer up my personal definitions of some of these difficult terms. And I invite you, gentle readers, to take pot-shots at them and tell me why “azimuth,” for instance, is really the only word that fully explains the concept. Anisotropy: variation based on direction Azimuth: angle Prestack: prior to averaging Stacked: averaged Stacked model: don’t make me go there Migration: moving things to their correct position Inversion: no clue Reverse time migration: see above Feathering: cables being moved by wind and currents away from their desired position Bin: a cube in a 3-D survey Velocity: speed Velocity model: something you build before you really know what’s going on Tomography: a cool term that we borrowed from medical imaging And don’t even get me started on geology! Special thanks to Schlumberger’s Oilfield Glossary for helping me ensure that my feeble assumptions were at least somewhat correct.