Velociraptorinae was originally coined as a redundant suprageneric taxon by Barsbold (1983:89), as it contained only the single genus Velociraptor. The taxon was later used for a small clade (e.g. Currie 1995, Xu et al. 1999). These later authors recognized Velociraptorinae as the sister taxon to a monotypic Dromaeosaurinae. The more recent analyses of Hwang et al. (2002) and Makovicky et al. (2005), however, recovered less structure within Dromaeosauridae, and hence no evidence for a basal dromaeosaurine-velociraptorine split.
A number of new dromaeosaurid taxa have been described, some that are occasionally placed closer to Aves than to Velociraptor mongoliensis. Under these circumstances, it is better to more clearly restict the potential taxonmic content of taxa with traditional subfamilial form so they do not intersect or overlap. The active definition is a first-order revision of the definition given in Sereno (1998) that uses species as specifiers and includes representatives of the other two dromaeosaurid subclades, Microraptorinae and Unenlagiinae, and Aves as external specifiers.