The persistence of so-called spongy myocardium was first reported in humans in the 1960s. Subsequently, a few reports described the condition, utilizing inconsistent facts and terminology. In 1990 the first report appeared using the term “noncompaction”, and detailed its clinical implications. Following this report, more descriptions of patients with noncompaction entered the literature. Prior to the availability of high resolution cross-sectional echocardiography, most cases of noncompacted myocardium escaped detection, as few patients underwent angiography. In this essay, I seek to adjudicate and clarify several confusions and controversies in the current literature including the acquired nature of hypertrabeculation, the fate of the so-called sinusoids, the relationship to coronary arteries, and noncompaction as another congenital malformation. The embryonic timing of cessation and reinitiation of compaction is conjectured as an explanation of the varied configurations of noncompaction as seen as a clinical entity. The clinical outcomes of decreased contractility, arrhythmia, and thromboembolism, have been stressed in the current literature, but more study is needed of the gray area between the normal variant and minimal noncompaction. A plea is made for the standardization of methods and terminology.