This is just a short listing of terms. For a more complete list, consult the ALPCA glossary (which was used as a primary source for the material below).

Base plate: A license plate used for more than one year, revalidated with date stickers, tabs, or windshield stickers.

Bolt hole: Holes, often round, on the top and bottom of a plate used to attach the plate to a vehicle.

Booster plate: Plates often used to commemorate a special event which can be sold as souvenirs or put on the front of a vehicle in those states which issue one license plate to registrants; souvenir plates are similar but are more likely intended as a memento or keepsake.

Condition: The physical state of a plate, rated on a scale of mint-excellent-very good-good-fair-poor.

County Coding: A system in which letters and/or numbers in a serial indicate the county of issuance.

Debossed: A plate which has the serial recessed (opposite of embossed).

Die type: Any variation of dies, materials, or formats of a license plate (e.g., the shape and style of the letters and numbers–similar to font in word processing).

Embossed: A plate which has the foreground raised higher than the background.

Graphic: A picture or background on a license plate using Scotchlite™ or similar reflective sheeting (1974 and newer).

Jurisdiction: A state, province, country, etc.

Prestate: A plate provided by the owner of a vehicle, required by a jurisdiction but not issued by that jurisdiction.

Run: A group of consecutive years of a type of plate from a given jurisdiction.

Sticker box: An embossed, screened, or recessed area designed to carry a date sticker. Also called a “sticker well.”

Tab: A piece, often metal, attached to a plate for revalidation (extant by the 1970s).

Tag: Another term for license plate.

Topper: Attachments, often made of aluminum or metal, designed to attach to the top of a license plate. Often promoting tourist sites, auto clubs, dealerships, special events, and the like, they were a forerunner of license plate frames and bumper stickers, and were rare by the mid-20th century.

Type: Refers to the type of vehicle a plate was made for (i.e. passenger, truck, motorcycle, specialty, etc.).

Variation: Refers to changes, sometimes subtle, in dies, materials, formats, or designs of a plate.