from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A license plate for a motor vehicle bearing a combination of letters or numbers selected by the purchaser.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A license plate whose identifier is chosen by the registering owner.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
I already had collected some such info from Maureen: his car (a royal-blue Monte Carlo with black vinyl roof and a vanity plate that read DOCYNG), his license plate state (Virginia), and the fact that he skiied and had done so at Mount Snow one spring weekend and brought back the next workday a large boxed assortment of maple sugar candy that he left on the coffee table in the break room for everyone to enjoy.
And just to see if she couldn’t get him to explode, on their ride back she’d told him the truck would look really cool with a vanity plate that said “DRGNHRT”—after the pretty pin he’d given her that she’d named Willy Dragonheart.
On the drive north, Kelp at the wheel of the silver Cadillac stretch limo with the New Jersey vanity plate — KOKAYIN — Dortmunder and Tiny on the deeply cushioned rear seats, the half a cow draped in front of them like the mob’s latest victim on top of the bar-and-TV console and the rear-facing plush seats, Dortmunder explained the job: “You remember Tom Jimson.”