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This paper calls attention to some of the most important and easily recognizable forms of surface wave, pointing out that their essential common characteristic is the evanescent field structure over the wave front, as represented by equiphase planes. The problems of launching and supporting surface waves must, in general, be distinguished from one another and it does not necessarily follow that because a particular surface is capable of supporting a surface wave that a given aperture distribution of radiation, e.g. a vertical dipole, can excite such a wave. The paper concludes with a discussion of the behavior of surface waves and their applications.