back to article North Carolina targets WTF licence plates

North Carolina is offering 10,000 vehicle owners whose licence plates contain the "potentially offensive" combo of letters "WTF" the chance to replace them for free. According to, the state's Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) was tipped off to the outrage by a 60-year-old technology teacher from Fayetteville who in …


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  1. Fred


    "Hi is that the Division of Motor Vehicles? I have an issue with my numberplate. It does NOT say what the fuck. How do I get this rectified?

  2. Dan

    wtf? (well... what else?)

    I wonder how the World Taekwondo Federation feel about their name being considered offensive.

  3. Mark



  4. Anonymous Coward


    WTF is their problem with WTF?

    Sorry, had to be said

  5. Dave Jones

    Wrong TLA

    I'd have expected North Carolina to go after OMG first. After all, isn't religion more important than obscenity down there?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    wtf ftw!

  7. Stu Pid
    Paris Hilton


    Surely it's other people who would find it offensive, you don't look at your own number plate do you?

    Paris because she knows WTF

  8. Dam
    Paris Hilton

    What about ?

    What about CuNTs and TaRDs ? ;)

    Not to mention DRuGs, GAY, LeSBos...

    I'd like a PH, because she might be into all that stuff.

  9. James


    and so on...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    This is the best part...

    The DMV was using "WTF-5505" as the sample plate on their web site:

  11. Lupus

    FAO Stu

    If it were awesome I certainly would.

  12. pctechxp

    If only

    We had such interesting number plates in the UK

    I'd pay for that one.

    Wonder if I can lodge a request with ICANN to register that as a TLD

  13. Doug Glass
    Black Helicopters


    I guess my buddy William Terrance Franklin is just SOL. Hmmmm.....SOL??? Looks like a real FUBAR to me. Hmmmm .... FUBAR??? I guess it's just too frakking bad for the WTF users. Hmmmmmm .... TFB??? Well, you know, for the national conscience it is a big frelling deal. Hmmmmm .... BFD???

    Hmmmmmmm .......

  14. Senor Beavis


    Having a slow Friday - can El Reg invent some news, please?

  15. Liam

    ffs is next i guess?

    this is stooooooopid...

  16. /\/\j17

    Maybe I'm Agest

    But "a 60-year-old technology teacher" doesn't sound too hopeful for the students!

    Unless it's a History of Technology course and they are learing about technology from 60 years ago.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have always found LOL to be far more offensive.

  18. Eddie Edwards

    Reminds me of Zurich Hauptbahnhof

    Zurich Central Station has the letters "SBB CFF FFS" above the entrance. FFS.

    Makes me smile whenever I go past.

  19. Giuseppe

    WTF - A Perfectly Legal choice in Australia

    A good friend of mine in Melbourne has WTF (just the three letters) as his custom numberplate, and there wasn't a problem getting it issued there.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    No such restrictions in the UK..

  21. Edward Rose

    I don't understand!

    Why the fuss?

  22. Anonymous Coward


    i seem to remember a few years back a similar incident over here, when the P reg came in and the the DVLA refused to issue the number 'P155 OFF'

    but that may be just wishful thinking on my part!

  23. amanfromMars Silver badge

    More GBIrish? .... No, Not Really.

    "I guess my buddy William Terrance Franklin is just SOL. Hmmmm.....SOL??? Looks like a real FUBAR to me. Hmmmm .... FUBAR??? I guess it's just too frakking bad for the WTF users. Hmmmmmm .... TFB??? Well, you know, for the national conscience it is a big frelling deal. Hmmmmm .... BFD???

    Hmmmmmmm ......" ... By Doug Glass Posted Friday 27th June 2008 12:51 GMT

    Hang in there, Doug, Angels AIWay..... Help on ITs Way with the Bitch Biker's Tour of Galaxy. ...... Seventh Heaven, Global Communications HQ @ ITs Work 4 Rest 2 Play.

    Welcome to Merlin, the MetaPhysician's, Cinderella/Sin der Elle MultiPolar Order Program. Another Tentacle of Octopus, Mr Allen?

  24. John Colby

    Other meanings

    There's also

    And for the William Temple foundation ( it says

    WTF's 60th Anniversay Lecture Series - Archbishop Rowan Williams, John Atherton, Francis Davis, Bob Langley

    There's the Workforce Training Fund (WTF) in

    And the Obama WTF (What's The Facts?)

    Which makes me think that someone hasn't got better things to do on a Friday afternoon - just like me!

  25. Eric Dennis

    Letter combos that few know...

    I see,

    Well then I'd be changing mine to something like- "SMD" or "BMN" or "KMA" or "FYS"... or my personal favorite- "FUB". See if you can figure out what those mean!!! LOL!!!

  26. edwardecl

    Work Time Fun

    WTF (Work Time Fun) is a great PSP game... what's offensive about it?

  27. Louis
    Thumb Up


    When working in business sales for BT, all orders placed had a reference number which consisted of several numbers and 4 letters. We actually had a about 2 weeks of order reference numbers with C-U-N-T in them, and we HAD to give the reference number to the customer :) Oh the joys of arguing with people thinking you are taking the piss and having to call your manager over to confirm to the customer it was a genuine order number...

    This was towards the end of 2006, in case anyone has old paperwork sitting about form then... Have a look...

  28. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    There's no limit... the ingenuity of people who want a "rude" number plate. Many years ago in the UK I saw "4 COF". I expect that would be OK in North Carolina, since they wouldn't get it.

    Coat icon, coz I'll just 4 COF now.

  29. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Other meanings.

    "WTF's 60th Anniversay Lecture Series - Archbishop Rowan Williams......."

    Given the Archbishop's hard-earned reputation as a clueless beardie with a tendancy to spout complete bollocks in public, surely that one's the usual meaning?

    Apparently he's speaking at the Foundation for Universal Christian Knowledge and World Interfaith Tolerance next week........

  30. Steve

    So you can get a free replacement...

    or take advantage of the publicity and auction it for a couple of grand.

    I just need to find something equivalent for SFC and the plate will be worth more than the car.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I knew White Wolf should have thought twice

    When they released their Werewolf: The Forsaken game.

    It's real, check amazon

  32. Jay Cooper

    This has me

    LMAO and ROFL! How FUBAR is that? What a bunch of SOC's!

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Things change...

    Apparently FTW (ooo it's an anagram, how handy) these days means "For the Win".

    In my day it meant "Fuck The World".

    So, WTF FTW ...


  34. Dave Jones


    Legend has it that here in NY USA, somebody got away with having SMEGMA as their vanity plate for some time before an alert minion spotted it at renewal time.

  35. Richard Porter

    Why the fuss?

    To be honest I'm surprised that the Catholic Church hasn't been up in arms about File Transfer Protocol.

  36. Daniel
    Jobs Horns

    so who's gonna tell 'em ...

    ... DMV also means Dick Meets Vag?

  37. Schroeder

    in my little corner of england

    Stagecoach have been running an extended advertising campaign for weekly passes on their buses. The adverts are a huge vinyl wrap-around, that covers the whole of the rear of the bus, I'm sure everyone knows the type. The image is a cartoon washing line with clothing on it, with a letter for each day of the week over each one. As you're probably guessed by now, the items for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday just happen to be the ones that appear on the rear of the bus.

    I often wonder, as one passes me of a morning, who the genius was in their advertising department who got that past their management, and how sad is it that I appear to be the only person over 30 who appears to have noticed it.

  38. Acme Fixer
    Thumb Up

    Maybe He...

    should use a BFH on the plate and just smash it flat.

    There's an older gentleman that drives a '60s Ford Falcon ranchero around town with the California custom license plate TIHSEPA. No, I'm not kidding! Read _that_ one backwards!

  39. Ed


    I live in North Carolina. I must now get a personalized license plate of "WTF"

  40. Anonymous Coward


    Sorry to rain on your parade

    The DVLA would have never released 'P155 OFF' in the previous incarnations of number plates...

    The letters 'I', 'O', and 'Z' (and a couple of others, I think, but those are the ones I remember) could not appear in the final trilogy of letters it was said that they could be misconstrued as numbers, 1, 0 and 2 respectively.

    So P155 OFF would never have happened!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ anonymous

    "...The letters 'I', 'O', and 'Z' ... could not appear in the final trilogy of letters it was said that they could be misconstrued as numbers, 1, 0 and 2 respectively. So P155 OFF would never have happened!..."

    how's about 'P155 AFF' then? that would still work in scotland and ireland [and possibly parts of 'zummerzet']

  42. Huw Davies


    "Sorry to rain on your parade

    The DVLA would have never released 'P155 OFF' in the previous incarnations of number plates...

    The letters 'I', 'O', and 'Z' (and a couple of others, I think, but those are the ones I remember) could not appear in the final trilogy of letters it was said that they could be misconstrued as numbers, 1, 0 and 2 respectively.

    So P155 OFF would never have happened!"

    I think you'll find it was I, Q and Z.

    If you check the DVLA site you can easily get a plate with "OFF" at the end. in fact P70 OFF is only £250.

  43. Garry Mills


    Sorry, but I had a plate once that was x 733 OWW so you could. have had OFF as part of the plate.

  44. Morten Ranulf Clausen


    ...they should STFU.

    Alright already, I'll BO...

  45. cd
    Jobs Halo

    Ideal Plate


  46. Herby

    With trace flag?

    Isn't that what it means? It says so in my Altos manual (it was from 1985 or so). The error message for unknown input to the ROM monitor was: "WTF?". Then the ROMs were all programmed and ready to go, and they wanted an explanation. They got it.

    Of course, one could go to: to see the REAL problems of the day.

  47. Graham Marsden


    ... TLA stand for Tits, Legs, Ass?

  48. Scott Coe

    Here in The South

    Things work differently, er . . . strangely. Not only has WTF been taken out, but so has XXX.

    I grew up here, but moved back last year after living in New York city for 10 years. Geeeez, things are sooooo provencial. I laugh at ordinary citizens complete ignorance every day. I need to get on back up to NY. This place is weird.

  49. Lennart Sorensen

    Nothing new

    Alberta recalled newly issued license plates with the letters BSE a few years ago. Apparently they were offending some people at the time.

  50. Maty

    try this one ...

    I'm in Austria. Just this afternoon had a car go by with number plate IM 3 WAY. What would Carolina make of that one?

  51. Elldee

    Banned Scottish number plate

    Last year we have our very own banned number plate word in Edinburgh: SN07, which was Not Appropriate and instead TN07 was used.

  52. LaeMi Qian

    Banned plates

    Down here in Aust. there were a whole bunch of banned plates featured on TV a few decades back. My favourite was 6ULDV8 (The 6 should be read with a New Zealand accent as in "6 is between 7 and 8").

  53. Henry Wertz Gold badge


    Florida DMV has a lack of sense of humor to ban vanity plates for someone with a nice Impala... you can't get a plate with "PIMPALA" in it.

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Here is a true WTF story

    My dad is a regular participant in a 3000 mile cross-country motorcyle rally. Because of the sheer endurance required, it has been aptly named the "Ironbutt" competition. Riders who finish or win the competion are given an "IRONBUTT" certicate... iron plaque, etc. As a finisher he naturally felt very honored.

    But when he innocently tried to get "IRONBUTT" put onto hîs North Carolina vantiy bike plate.. well the DMV said no (coz it was "inappropriate").

    So he had settled for "IRONBOT" instead which successfully slipped past the DMV plate nazis.

    Ride free.....or die

  55. Fuion
    IT Angle


    ETA for enlightenment?

  56. Andy Barber
    Paris Hilton

    15 5EXY

    That famous (in the UK) Porn star from the 1970's Mary Millington had 15 5EXY on her yellow Jaguar XJS!

    PH because she 15n't EXY!

  57. ShaggyDoggy

    so last year

    give me FUD anytime

    but then I'm and old RPG'er

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I want

    UR PWNED as my next reg plate

  59. Nathan Williams
    Paris Hilton

    You can't get a PIMPALA in Florida...

    ...but you can get A55 RGY, which--when combined with the large orange that decorates Florida license plates and looks like an O--implies another interesting hobby.

    Paris, because she has interesting hobbies.

  60. Anonymous Coward

    @LaeMi Qian


  61. Stephen

    some missing info

    i live in NC. the plates are generated with a 3 letter prefix, a dash, and a suffix of 4 numbers.

    NCDMV personalized plate checker / preview:

    i don't think they banned WTF, they just offered to replace auto-generated plates with a possibly offending prefix. nothing about this seems mandatory.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reg readers are predicable bigots

    I knew as soon as I saw "North Carolina" in the title that there were going to be a bunch of stupid comments based on sad and outdated stereotypes.

    As the owner of a small technology company we relocated to Raleigh from Los Angeles a few years ago because of the abundance of intelligent forward thinking young people that live in the area. Raleigh's workforce is the most highly educated in the nation based on the percentage of young adults with college degrees and also has and one of the highest percentage of grads with doctorate degrees. The Research Triangle Park is home to many leading Bio-tech, computer technology and environmental tech companies.

    Both Raleigh and Charlotte are progressive booming cities with economies, job markets and housing markets that the rest of the nation and much of the world can only wish they had.

    Anyway, I really just wanted to point out that they were simply allowing people who might be offended to swap out their plates, they certainly weren't mandating that anyone doe so.

    By the way, I was raised Catholic in New York but had already considered myself an atheist before moving to California as a teenager. Although there are a lot of "Southern Baptists" here who you might think wouldn't take kindly to either Catholics or atheists, it's simply not true, people seem to be nice to everyone here. I've got lots of friends here who know me, accept my views and are always glad to have us over for a barbecue and some beer.

    So to all the simple minded people who can't see past their own stereotype, FO-Q2

  63. James Cleveland

    what about


  64. Eric Werme
    IT Angle

    H8 banned in New Hampshire USA

    My wife's H8DCYF, for i Hate the Division of Children Youth and Family, a state agency that violates the rights of parents and children every day, raised enough of a stink so that H8 is banned. The owner of H8TAXES had it recalled, but managed to get it back. A gas company got Methane (CH4) and Ethane (C2H6), but couldn't get Propane (C3H8).

  65. zcat
    Paris Hilton

    3AT M3

    Saw it a couple of weeks ago.. although '3M TA3' would be funnier 'cos you only get it when you see it in the rear-view mirror.

    We only get six letters to play with here, so we have to be extra-creative.

    Might be a good plate for Paris, I dunno...

  66. le jono

    This is stupid

    Disgusting behaviour.

  67. Doug Glass
    Black Helicopters


    @ some missing info

    Suggestions from government agencies are many times tantamount to orders. Especially when the suggesting agency has been embarrassed or at the very least made uncomfortable. But ah'll bet you uh bucket of grits WTF disappears from Nawth Calina's license plates. If not by direct replacement, then by refusal to reissue.

  68. Matthew Joyce

    @John Colby

    Well, at least I can take a tiny amount of comfort that John Colby's reference to Obama WTF is to a site not directly associated with him. I would be unimpressed to find that two sequential US presidents couldn't actually use language coherently. A passing grade can be achieved for the equally pithy but at least grammatically correct "What ARE the facts?" or "What're the facts" to keep the crap attempt at the WTF acronym alive.

  69. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Watch these Spaces......

    "ETA for enlightenment?" .... By Fuion Posted Saturday 28th June 2008 08:23 GMT


    The seeds are sown, Fuion, with some flowers/buds well ripened for purchase/display/enjoyment. Any wait you are encountering you can blame on Government and/or Gangsters for they both play a similar Game but with one glaring Difference. Only one of them is Honest to ITs Core.... whilst the other is Rotten and Destroying its Server Base/Shredding Executive/Administrative Documents/Incriminating Expenses.

    And being a pretty straight kind of guy and/or a creature of eccentric, esoteric habit, you can rely on El Reg delivering to you all the News as IT happens...... ?

    Well ...... they are supplied, but you can expect moles in any media communication organisation, working for hidden interests, to be tasked with scraping juicy news to other honey pots, rather than them generating honey themselves..... so it is as well to have mirroring resources elsewhere for back-up.

    And where Safer or more Public Spirited than the Cloud Layers, from where IT can Rain down on whoever is in Need of its Energy/Intellectual Property Knowledge, with Virtualisation bearing All of the Costs and All Profits going to Exactly where they are Needed

  70. marius


    Just a few days ago i saw a guy on TV in my country who refused to use a leased car because the leasing company gave him the number x-xx-GAY.

    It's not the leasing company's fault because the numbers are generated randomly but the twist is the office that issues plates in my country wants 200$ to change the plate. Considering average monthly income here is 350-400$, it's a lot.

    The same tv broadcast showed plates like SUG (suck in english) and FAG (which in my country can mean a tree or you know what in english)...

  71. Steve Wedge

    I remember seeing one from Hew Hampshire once...

    Vanity plate:


    Looked great in a mirror.

    Mine's the metal one made by prison labor...

  72. Nigel

    Go North-East young man

    ... and see what you can find in Scunthorpe.

  73. Michael Benneyworth


    Just got some new plates and they are ### FTW. I guess the west coast of Canada doesn't have the same issues as NC....

  74. Anonymous Coward


    Apparently this teacher has nothing better to do with his time, LIKE TEACHING! WTF is with teachers these day. All they want to do is be-atch about every thing.

  75. Chris Yule

    WTF Plate

    Best plate I ever saw has to have been V461 NAL - on the back of nondescript Cavalier. Either the driver was completely unaware or he was a gynaecologist with a low-key sense of fun,

  76. Smoovious
    Thumb Up

    WTF as a TLD?

    pctechxp> Wonder if I can lodge a request with ICANN to register that as a TLD

    If WTF became a TLD? I'd for sure get a handful of domains under it. Would probably end up being one of the more successful custom TLDs created.

    -- Smoovious

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