At present there is no universally accepted nomenclature for congenital cardiac malformations. Much of the controversy results from failure to distinguish the structural connections of the heart from the morphology and spatial relations of its components. The confusion is compounded by an abundance of individual definitions, many of them speculative. The present article proposes a totally descriptive nomenclature. It describes in turn the connections of the cardiac segments, their morphology, their relations, and additional anomalies in any segment. Each step in the segmental approach is discrete. The overall effect is to force a succinct and comprehensive description of any cardiac malformation, no matter how complex.