Abstract Tabulation patterns for peridinialean dinoflagellate thecae and cysts have been traditionally expressed using a plate labelling system described by C.A. Kofoid in the early 1900's. This system can obscure dinoflagellate plate homologies and has not always been strictly applied. The plate-labelling system presented here introduces new series labels but incorporates key features and ideas from the more recently proposed systems of G.L. Eaton and F.J.R. Taylor, as modified by W.R. Evitt. Plate-series recognition begins with the cingulum (C-series) and proceeds from the cingulum toward the apex for the three series of the epitheca/epicyst and proceeds from the cingulum toward the antapex for the two series of the hypotheca/hypocyst. The epithecal/epicystal model consists of eight plates that touch the anterior margin of the cingulum (E-series: plates E1-E7, ES), seven plates toward the apex that touch the E-series plates (M-series: R, M1-M6), and up to seven plates near the apex that do not touch E-series plates (D-series: Dp-Dv). The hypothecal/hypocystal model consists of eight plates that touch the posterior margin of the cingulum (H-series: H1-H6,HR,HS) and three plates toward the antapex (T1-T3). Epithecal/epicystal tabulation patterns come in both 8- and 7- models, corresponding to eight and seven plates, respectively, in the E-series. Hypothecal/hypocystal tabulation patterns also come in both 8- and 7-models, corresponding to eight and seven plates, respectively, in the H-series. By convention, the 7-model epitheca/epicyst has no plates E1 and M1; the 7-model hypotheca/hypocyst has no plate H6. Within an 8-model or 7-model, the system emphasizes plates that are presumed to be homologous by giving them identical labels. I introduce the adjectives “monothigmate”, “dithigmate,” and “trithigmate” to designate plates touching one, two, and three plates, respectively, of the adjacent series. The term “thigmation” applies to the analysis of plate contacts between plate series as a guide to interpretation. Application of the proposed plate labelling system involves: (1) locating the cingulum and identifying the plate series, (2) identifying the landmark plates within each series, (3) assigning appropriate plate numbers to plates in the E- and H-series, (4) assigning appropriate plate numbers to the remaining plates using thigmation and interactions of diagonally opposite pairs of plates (quartets) as guides to interpretation. A “typical” gonyaulacoid tabulation pattern combines a 7-model epitheca/epicyst and an 8-model hypotheca/hypocyst. A “typical” peridinioid tabulation pattern combines an 8-model epitheca/epicyst and a 7-model hypotheca/hypocyst. The group that is presently termed partiform gonyaulacoid (which includes the modern genus Cladopyxis Stein and the fossil Microdinium Cookson and Eisenack) has an 8-model epitheca/epicyst and an 8-model hypotheca/hypocyst.