Cognitive reserve and related constructs are valuable for aging-related research, but consistency and clarification of terms is needed as there is still no universally agreed upon nomenclature. We propose a new set of definitions for the concepts of reserve, maintenance, and resilience, and we invoke parallel concepts for each that are applicable to cognition and to brain. Our definitions of reserve and resilience correspond reasonably well to dictionary definitions of these terms. We demonstrate logical/methodological problems that arise from incongruence between commonly used conceptual and operational definitions. In our view, cognitive reserve should be defined conceptually as one’s total cognitive resources at a given point in time. IQ and education are examples of common operational definitions (often referred to as proxies) of cognitive reserve. Many researchers define cognitive reserve conceptually as a property that allows for performing better than expected cognitively in the face of aging or pathology. Performing better than expected is demonstrated statistically by interactions in which the moderator is typically IQ or education. The result is an irreconcilable situation in which cognitive reserve is both the moderator and the moderation effect itself. Our proposed nomenclature resolves this logical inconsistency by defining performing better than expected as cognitive resilience. Thus, in our usage, we would test the hypothesis that high cognitive reserve confers greater cognitive resilience. Operational definitions (so-called proxies) should not conflate factors that may influence reserve—such as occupational complexity or engagement in cognitive activities—with cognitive reserve itself. Because resources may be depleted with aging or pathology, one’s level of cognitive reserve may change over time and will be dependent on when assessment takes place. Therefore, in addition to cognitive reserve and cognitive resilience, we introduce maintenance of cognitive reserve as a parallel to brain maintenance. If, however, education is the measure of reserve in older adults, it precludes assessing change or maintenance of reserve. Finally, we discuss consideration of resistance as a subcategory of resilience, reverse causation, use of residual scores to assess performing better than expected given some adverse factor, and what constitutes high vs. low cognitive reserve across different studies.