The environmental significance of soil bound pesticide residues (SBPR) is potentially large because approximately one third of the applied mass of the pesticides in agriculture ends up as SBPR. At EU level, there is little regulatory guidance available on the environmental risk assessment of SBPR in spite of some 50 years of SBPR research. This lack of guidance is partially caused by the fact that the current definitions of SBPR are founded on non-extractability in soil in the laboratory whereas for the environmental risk assessment not the soil in the laboratory but the soil in the field is the system of interest. Therefore a definition of SBPR is proposed that is based on the field soil: a molecule (further called 'the mother molecule') is soil bound if a relevant part of this molecule has become part of the solid phase in the soil and if this relevant part will never be released again to the liquid phase in soil under relevant field conditions in the form of this mother molecule or in the form of another molecule that may possibly raise environmental or human toxicological concerns. This mother moleculemay be the parent substance that is applied to the soil but itmay also be a metabolite of this parent substance. A consequence of the definition is that the SBPR terminology becomes more precise because the mother molecule of the soil bound residue has to be specified. A further consequence is that very strong but reversible sorption of molecules such as paraquat is not considered soil-bound residue anymore (as may be demonstrated by a self-exchange extraction procedure). Furthermore, the definition requires that risk managers have to define what they consider as 'relevant field conditions' (e.g. include also changes of agricultural fields into forests?).