Words: barker, n.

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The Independent Culture
AND SO this is Christmas, and end-of-lease stores are infested with fly-by-night merchants, their goods counterfeit, if not stolen.

Moreover, these gougers do not sweat themselves but fill the doorways with loudspeakers which broadcast spiel on a tape-loop. The device should be known as a barker, which one had always thought to be an American term for a fairground hawker, but which in fact goes back to 17th-century England.

As J.C. Hotten put it, this was a man "employed to cry at the doors of gaffs, shows, and puffing shops, to entice people inside". Absent, though, from the OED are the American usages of barker as a shoe (a logical development from feet as dogs) and a word set in a larger type than the headline below it.

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