Prohibited license plates

Government Attic queried various states for their lists of forbidden license plates, and has begun posting the results.

The most striking quality of the lists are their sheer size: states ban words with wild abandon, from misspelled swear words (COKK, banned in Ark.) to French drinks (COGNAC, unacceptable in Az.) and network engineer humor (FTPLOL, no go in D.C.), including countless variations. They are also, however, wildly inconsistent, missing obviously scandalous terms. Many disallowed words seem completely nonsensical, too, as if generated by poorly-tuned character substitution apps.

BOINGER, I regret to report, is banned in Arizona.

Here's the lot in one giant PDF. [Government Attic. Thanks, M!]


    1. Illinois is reportedly a fun state to troll custom plate owners.. any complaint about a plate, whether valid or not, will get that plate removed. There’s no review or appeal process.

      You could have a plate that reads “PEACE” and if someone calls it in.. say goodbye. That plate ends up on the banned list forever, but alternate spellings are okay. You could get ‘P3ACE’ and be fine (until someone calls it in).

      1. You’re absolutely correct. As was discussed several months ago here on BB, my plates read “YRASI9”. Then some touchhole bitched about them to the SoS Driver’s Services, and they promptly sent me a letter informing me that they were suspending my plates. At least they didn’t charge me for the new ones, which read “CENSRD”

    1. If it were in Northern Ireland, my immediate thought would be Fuck The Pope/Loyal Orange Lodge, but I’m guessing that minor internecine conflicts within Christianity aren’t that much of a hot-button topic in DC.

  1. It’s hilarious that Utah’s response is 10x as large as the others ( 10MB )  Who’d have thought it?

      1.  See that’s the thing about Utah, people try to make fun of it for something, but you can just point somewhere in the south and find a bigger example (ie liquor laws, Utah has never had a dry county, and PA’s buying system is more bureaucratically frustrating).

    1. Frank Zappa had some song lyrics censored from We’re Only In It For the Money that were in a similar vein to “eat the kids first” being considered sexual. The lyric:

      I still remember Momma with her apron and her pad
      Feeding all the boys at Ed’s cafe

      The censors apparently thought that the waitress’ order pad was a sanitary napkin and she was feeding the boys her monthly flow.

  2. I remember seeing a photo in an 80s vintage Playboy that showed a CA plate:

    FAA Q

    Just say it like you read it

    1. There’s much less flexibility in the UK, as the number has to conform to the pattern — although the old patters are OK.

      I see “2 AT” most mornings (parked).  I’m sure that’s supposed to be “twat”.

  3. It’s an exhaustive list. You definitely better not want a plate with any version of BLACK on it. All banned.

  4. I remember a court case several years ago where a woman lost her complaint that the state of Virginia had disallowed her ATHEIST request. Still pisses me off.

  5. WA’s plates are (according to their website) reviewed by certain employees of DOL. Here they’ll stop any that have character look-alikes. A friend who lived in Idaho had the plate F1REMAN because FIREMAN was already taken. He moved to WA and they denied it. I can understand though, people reading the plate of a hit-and-run or other criminal are going to see the word rather than the actual spelling. 

  6. I believe that in general, these lists are not meant to be exhaustive. It’s a list of all the plates that were submitted and then subsequently rejected. The states with the more ridiculous lists just have the more ridiculous populations. Obviously scandalous terms aren’t missing, they’re just never requested in the first place – because, duh.

    1. I mentioned a few months ago, and I still find it unbelievable upon reviewing several states’ worth of banned plates, that with all the misspellings of people’s naughty bits, there’s still a Porsche driving around Sherman Oaks with PUDENDA on its plates.

      1. I’ve always wondered if there’s a Toyota Previa owner somewhere with a license plate that reads PLACENTA.

  7. My wife new a straight-laced woman who was did _not_ like the state-assigned non-personalized license plate she received from the CA DMV: “4FKN007”. Ironically, she had a very hard time convincing the DMV that it was potentially offensive and needed replacing. (Yes, most of us would have loved this.)

  8. “BEAVERS” is banned in Utah, even though we have a city in Utah called Beaver, which is in Beaver County. I guess the plural makes it naughty.

  9. “BOINGER, I regret to report, is banned in Arizona.”

    Well who would want to do that in Arizona anyway?

  10. Many years ago, I was working on an implementation of a system in Mexico.  It’s been awhile so bear with me.   Tax IDs in Mexico are alphanumeric and partially based on ones maternal and paternal last name — grabbing some letters for each and stringing them together.  But if those 4 letters when strung together form a “bad” word the 4th letter is replaced with an X.  Apparently there are no bad words that end in X.

    Needless to say, as a developer, getting a list of Spanish, English, and Spanglish bad words and having to put them in a database (no way in hell was I going to hard code this) was the highlight of the project. 

    Oh, and yeah the list didn’t make sense.

  11. I love the convoluted explanations some of them give as to why their plate should be allowed.  “RUNOVAU” doesn’t mean “run over you”!  It means my name is Roger and I run a Chevy Nova car club at my university!  Anyone can see that!

  12. Always drives me nuts that the God Squad can have whatever Jebus crap they want on their plate but they can complain about 666 being on a plate and get them pulled statewide. 

    I saw 2tenSS driving around a VERY Jewish part of LA and reported it for saying Toten SS and got told by the DMV to go pound sand.

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