Illinois Has A List Of Forbidden Words, Characters For Personalized License Plates

Steve Miller
May 23, 2018 - 8:07 am

Illinois Secretary of State


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It is an ever-growing list: what's not allowed on vanity and personalized license plates in the state of Illinois.

They call it the "inhibit" list, all the forbidden words and characters on Illinois plates.

"I'll tell you a popular one that people try a lot is FUBAR," said Carrie Leitner, assistant to the director of vehicle services at the Secretary of State's office.

"FUBAR. The military term."

WBBM: And what does that stand for?

"---- up beyond all recognition."

WBBM: And do you let them get away with it?

"No," she laughs. "That is not permitted...

"There's simple ones like floozy and moron..."

WBBM: Do you let them get away with floozy?


WBBM: Not even floozy?  That was probably a bad word back in the '20s.

"Based on our constituents - we have a wide range of drivers out there. So we try to cover all generations."


The author of America's Funniest License Plates, Ted Ford, said people in Illinois love their vanity plates.

"I spent probably two weeks in Illinois, and I came up with the conclusion that they have more personalized plates in the state than anybody. So they must be free," he said, in jest.

There are a lot of vanity plates.  And a lot of attempts to push the envelope with the Secretary of State's office.

But Leitner said they don't catch them all - like...

"J-A-G-G-O-F-F.  And it was a Jaguar vehicle. We got a complaint on that one, so we ended up re-plating that one."

Right now more than 6,200 words and characters are on the "inhibit" list, banned by the state.