Number plates

In South Africa, when I was growing up up, number plates were two letters followed by a number. The first letter was for the province, and the second letter was for your town or city. We used to love playing numberplate bingo on long, boring trips. We would see how many ‘exotic’ number plates (i.e. from other provinces) we could cross off on our cards. You used to also have GG for Government Garage (state vehicles) M for military etc and those gave you extra points. This bingo used to keep us occupied for hours.

The one below was from East London (E), Cape Province (C)


The n South Africa changed to numbers and letters with the province denotation at the end. But I heard that they avoided letters that formed rude words. Not sure how true that is, but I have never seen a South African number plate that forms a rude word.

Sweden is not the same. I have seen some fun ones like:

  • PEE
  • POO
  • FUK
  • DIK
  • WEE
  • WTF
  • OMG
  • GEE
  • GAP
  • DUD
  • HEE

I have always wondered whether, if I were allocated something like POS, KKK, GOD, 666, or 13 for my number, I could refuse it because I didn’t want to be associated with the connotations. It’s a question I have always wanted to ask the transport authority, but I do not want to be a time waster.

For example, FAP below is slang for masturbation


In 2022, the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency banned hundreds of plates, these among them:

  • BA22 TRD
  • BT22 CHY
  • BE22 END
  • A22 HLE
  • M22 FKR
  • DR22 NK
  • BJ22 GAL
  • TU22 URD
  • B022 LOX
  • UP22 0FF
  • CO22 ONA
  • AH22 TLR
  • AT22 SSR
  • CO22 VD
  • YE22 WAR
  • CO22 RNA
  • SA22 TEN
  • GO22 HLL

Here are some more. How much time do these people have on their hands?

How is the number plate system in your country?

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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