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From the GoF, right before the Yule Ball, there's a mention of the Weird Sisters wizarding band, and there's a mention about a device(?) called a wizard's wireless.

What is this device, as a "wireless" usually refers to a cell phone, which are considered Muggle artifacts by the wizarding community?

...Exactly who or hat the Weird Ssters were Harry didn't know, never having access to a wizard's wireless, although...

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    No, a wireless is not a cell phone. It's a radio. A wizard’s wireless is simply the wizarding equivalent of a radio, like the one Mrs Weasley uses to listen to Celestina Warbeck on. (I don't remember the mentioning in question offhand. Could you add in the actual quote?) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 19 '16 at 22:26
  • Please see: dictionary.reference.com/browse/wireless. The first 3 in "noun" are regarding wireless phones, also known as cell phones. – Anoplexian Feb 19 '16 at 22:33
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    That doesn’t change the fact that if a Brit talks about ‘a wireless’, they’re almost certainly talking about a radio. I’ve never heard anyone, from any country, call a mobile phone ‘a wireless’. Mobile phones make use of wireless telephony, yes, but I’ve never heard of anyone calling them ‘wirelesses’. (Only the third is actually clearly about mobile phones; the first two are about the technology and its products in general. If you compare with Merriam-Webster’s definitions for AmE, they don’t even mention that meaning.) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 19 '16 at 23:51
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    I have a "wireless" phone. It's connected to my land-line. It has a base that is connected to the phone line. I can go wherever I want in the house (and to some extent outside the house) with the handset. Thus, it is my "wireless" phone. But I would never call my cell phone "wireless". – Angelo DeMichaels Feb 20 '16 at 1:42
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A "wireless" is a (largely English) idiom for a radio receiver. The opposite of a wired receiver such as a telegraph.

They were all supposed to be listening to a Christmas broadcast by Mrs Weasley’s favourite singer, Celestina Warbeck, whose voice was warbling out of the large wooden wireless. Fleur, who seemed to find Celestina very dull, was talking so loudly in the corner that a scowling Mrs Weasley kept pointing her wand at the volume control, so that Celestina grew louder and louder. - HP: GoF

In the later books we learn that there's also a password/encryption component to the device, allowing pirate transmissions to be received by those capable of guessing the correct passcode

Ron spent evening after evening using his wand to beat out various rhythms on top of the wireless while the dials whirled. Occasionally they would catch snatches of advice on how to treat dragon pox, and once, a few bars of ‘A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love’. While he tapped, Ron continued to try to hit on the correct password, muttering strings of random words under his breath. ‘They’re normally something to do with the Order,’ he told them. ‘Bill had a real knack for guessing them. I’m bound to get one in the end …’ - HP: DH

  • +1 for largely English, no wonder it didn't make complete sense to me. I do however have a follow-up question as to how they work though..... – Anoplexian Feb 19 '16 at 22:38
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    They work by magic, of course. ;-) – Hellion Feb 19 '16 at 22:39

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