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LOL! Does that tag mean what I think?

Mary Ann Hardee trains elementary school teachers to introduce computers and other technology to students, but she wasn't hip to the Internet-age significance of her new license plate – until she caught her teenage grandchildren giggling at it.

They told her the “WTF” letter combination on her plate is a popular but profane acronym used by many who send text messages.

It means “What the ——.”

“Once it was revealed to me, I developed this real self- consciousness,” said Hardee, 60, who lives in Fayetteville and works at Fort Bragg. Especially when she drove to school or church.

It used to be DMV officials just worried about the vanity plates, paying close attention to applicants' requests to make sure they weren't trying to slip through something foul or raunchy.

But text messaging has added a new wrinkle, because it uses acronyms or phonics for words and phrases. Think LOL for Laughing Out Loud or NME for enemy. That means some combinations for standard plates can spell trouble for the DMV.

The WTF plate was issued last year, one of roughly 240 letter combinations used on more than 2 million standard-issue plates. Hardee contacted DMV officials in July and eventually persuaded officials to issue her a new plate.

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