Avoidance is generally adaptive, yet excessive rates of avoidance can become maladaptive and lead to functional impairment and psychopathology. Laboratory-based treatment research has provided important insights about the acquisition, maintenance, and extinction of maladaptive avoidance. Despite this, laboratory research on avoidance learning and extinction in humans is relatively underdeveloped. A better understanding of avoidance extinction methods has implications for basic research with humans and the development of treatment interventions aimed at replacing maladaptive behavior with an adaptive, functional repertoire. The present article reviews, for the first time, the use of the term extinction in human research on avoidance, contrasts existing Pavlovian and operant approaches to the extinction of avoidance, considers the validity of approaches to avoidance extinction, and suggests a consistent terminology and research gaps for future translational research on anxiety and related disorders.