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Vehicles should be properly placarded when required by Federal law.

What does "placarded" mean? Does it mean that placard should be attached to vehicles?

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That's certainly unusual, but we often make participle-adjectives out of nouns in that way - like if someone has their ID checked to buy alcohol, they have been carded (asked for their ID card) in America or IDed (asked for their ID) in Britain.

(Note that "IDed" is also used as an abbreviation for "identified" - but the usage is different.)

Merriam-Webster does in fact have a verb definition of placard:

transitive verb

1a : to cover with or as if with posters
b : to post in a public place

2 : to announce by or as if by posting

However, that obviously isn't the case here. This is a very specific case whereby specific placards (meaning a sign for public display) must be affixed, such as to announce a dangerous load. It does simply mean "marked with placards".

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In US Federal and many state laws (as state laws are often fashioned using Federal law), to placard is to put (to affix) a placard (a sign) on vehicles or trains (and I suppose some boats as well but I didn't check that specifically);

QUOTE 49 CFR § 172.504 - General placarding requirements. [Code of Federal Regulations]

(a)General. Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, each bulk packaging, freight container, unit load device, transport vehicle or rail car containing any quantity of a hazardous material must be placarded on each side and each end with the type of placards specified in tables 1 and 2 of this section and in accordance with other placarding requirements of this subpart, including the specifications for the placards named in the tables and described in detail in §§ 172.519 through 172.560.

(b)DANGEROUS placard. A freight container, unit load device, transport vehicle, or rail car which contains non-bulk packages with two or more categories of hazardous materials that require different placards specified in table 2 of paragraph (e) of this section may be placarded with a DANGEROUS placard instead of the separate placarding specified for each of the materials in table 2 of paragraph (e) of this section. UNQUOTE

placard the verb means to place a placard on a vehicle or train.

placards for hazards

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The short answer is that, as in many languages, any word can be "verbed":

The news rapidly reached the public and soon Twittered out of control.

Here "to Twitter" implies the meaning "disseminated and commented on through Twitter", or more generally, "spread through social media in a way that was impossible to stop".

Most of the time you have to figure out the meaning from context. In your example, yes, the obvious meaning is "to affix with a placard".

The longer answer is that not all of these make sense or sound good. Additionally, many words already have formal or informal meanings which may not be immediately obvious. For example, in some slang, to "book" means "to move quickly".

It's generally fine to play around with the language in this way, but don't be surprised if you get a few strange looks, at least until you are more familiar with what certain verbs might already mean.

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