The higher classification of the families of the Noctuoidea with a quadrifid forewing (Nolidae, Strepsimanidae, Arctiidae, Lymantriidae, Erebidae, and Noctuidae) is reviewed from the perspective of recent classifications and the distribution of derived character states. On the basis of recent morphological and molecular studies, we propose a more inclusive definition of the family Noctuidae that adds the subfamilies Nolinae, Strepsimaninae, Arctiinae, Lymantriinae, and Erebinae to the subfamilies more traditionally included in the Noctuidae. Consequently, the superfamily Noctuoidea comprises the families Oenosandridae, Doidae, Notodontidae, Micronoctuidae, and Noctuidae. The tribe Cosmiini, currently in the subfamily Xyleninae, is downgraded to the status of subtribe Cosmiina and placed in the tribe Xylenini. The tribe Balsini, currently in the subfamily Xyleninae, is elevated to the status of subfamily Balsinae. The tribe Phosphilini is transferred from the subfamily Psaphidinae to the Xyleninae.