Aggregation of the microtubule‐associated protein tau is a key feature of Alzheimer's disease and other so‐called tauopathies, yet what causes this protein to aggregate and what renders it toxic is only slowly being revealed. Because tau spreads in a stereotypical pattern through the diseased brain, it has been proposed that it possesses prion‐like properties, with aggregation‐prone tau facilitating the conversion of “naïve” tau into “toxic” forms. The current study by Wegmann et al (2015) addresses whether tau fulfils classical “prion criteria” by assessing its spreading and toxicity in the absence of endogenous tau. Using different transgenic and viral paradigms, the authors demonstrate that, although tau still propagates in this scenario, there is a decrease in its misfolding and neurotoxicity. They therefore conclude that tau is not a genuine prion, at least when the current definition of these infectious proteins is applied.