Improve your nation’s Scrabble championship performance and learn new and exotic words with this one amazing license plate proposal! Call the DMV now and reserve a new plate!


English has a wide variety of rarely-used short words that are extremely useful in various word games (e.g. Scrabble, Words With Friends, Bananagrams), and not in very many other situations.

Specifically, there are (in the 1993 FreeBSD dictionary that comes with Mac OS X), a total of:

  • 139 two-letter words
    1294 three-letter words
    4994 four-letter words

…out of the 234,936 words in the 1934 Webster’s Second International dictionary, according to the following commands:

grep -E -i '^[A-Z]{2}$' /usr/share/dict/words | tr 'a-z' 'A-Z' | sort -u | wc -l  --> Result: 139 two-letter words

grep -E -i '^[A-Z]{3}$' /usr/share/dict/words | tr 'a-z' 'A-Z' | sort -u | wc -l  --> Result: 1294 three-letter words

grep -E -i '^[A-Z]{4}$' /usr/share/dict/words | tr 'a-z' 'A-Z' | sort -u | wc -l  --> Result: 4994 four-letter words

The issue:

This is a fairly large set of words that a person would need to know at minimum in order to be a pro at a word game.

In order to make our nation more competitive at international word game tournaments, something will need to be done.


Car license plates should incorporate the following: a short word (from the set of valid words above), plus the definition of that word (Figure 1).

Then, as people are stuck in traffic every day (or are waiting for a bus), they can learn new words just by observing the nearby cars!

As a bonus, this may make drivers more attentive of the in front of them.

Fig. 1: These proposed license plate numbers contain an uncommon English word and its definition. Top: “AIT.” Bottom: “EME.”

“Grassroots” Alternative Proposal:

If you don’t want to wait for your state to implement this new license plate design, you can still implement this idea right now by just making your own bumper sticker with a word & definition on it. Put the sticker on the back of your car, and you’re done!

PROS: Increases literacy and national performance in esoteric word games.

CONS: May encourage extreme tailgating (in order to read the tiny text on the license plates), which could lead to more traffic accidents. This could be solved by making the license plates huge, or using a set of bumper stickers instead.