This doesn't seem to be general reference, because in the context I've seen it used tonight (the London riots), it certainly isn't referring to a coin, or 'a person who hails'.

I've heard it used several times now by mainstream media reporters; they saw someone with a "loud haler". Here's an example from Twitter:

5 live producer reports seeing rioter with loud haler - calling for friends, seems very organised

Does anyone have any idea what they mean here by 'haler'? Even Urban Dictionary doesn't seem to have a satisfactory definition. My best guess is it's some London street slang for 'megaphone', but can anyone confirm?

closed as not a real question by z7sg Ѫ, FumbleFingers, Dori Aug 9 '11 at 1:21

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    Street slang? No, it's an obvious spelling mistake. – z7sg Ѫ Aug 8 '11 at 22:32
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    Voting to close as "too localised" - either a meaningless typo, or ignorant spelling (it is Twitter). I'm not sure you can call it "general reference" - (easily looked up anywhere). If you don't know English well enough to see/hear it straight off, you're pretty much stuck. – FumbleFingers Aug 9 '11 at 0:04
  • @FumbleFingers Actually, I would disagree. Even with the spelling fixed, it's a term I hadn't come across before and it wasn't in the dictionary in the context of 'megaphone'. I think it could be a useful question. – Jez Aug 9 '11 at 0:56
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    @Jez: Well, I expect we all have odd gaps in our vocabulary, and it is true that "loudhailer" is far less common than "megaphone". But if you google it you'll see it's quite common. Providing definitions for such ordinary words isn't what I think EL&U should be concerned with. Face it, it was just a typo plus your lack of familiarity with the right word. – FumbleFingers Aug 9 '11 at 1:12
  • ...consider this. How long would the question last if we correct the spelling? – FumbleFingers Aug 9 '11 at 1:13

OK, I'm now pretty sure it was referring to a megaphone. Wikipedia says a megaphone can be referred to as:

A megaphone, speaking-trumpet, bullhorn, blowhorn, or loud hailer

Presumably that Twitter message was a typo and they meant loud hailer, which is a term for megaphone I've never heard. Probably be better if it were hyphenated to indicate it's one noun, not an adjective-noun combo. Oh well.

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