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We recently defined genetic traits that distinguish sympathetic from parasympathetic neurons, both preganglionic and ganglionic (Espinosa-Medina et al., Science 354:893-897, 2016). By this set of criteria, we found that the sacral autonomic outflow is sympathetic, not parasympathetic as has been thought for more than a century. Proposing such a belated shift in perspective begs the question why the new criterion (cell types defined by their genetic make-up and dependencies) should be favored over the anatomical, physiological and pharmacological considerations of long ago that inspired the "parasympathetic" classification. After a brief reminder of the former, we expound the weaknesses of the latter and argue that the novel genetic definition helps integrating neglected anatomical and physiological observations and clearing the path for future research.