Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Balaclava


A man wearing a balaclava

Alternative forms[edit]


From the city of Balaklava in the Crimea, from Ottoman Turkish بالقلاوه‎ (modern Turkish balıklava), alteration of بالقلاغه(balıklaga, fishing ground). During the Crimean War the British troops suffered from cold due to improper clothing. When the news spread in the home front after the Battle of Balaclava in 1854, the people began knitting warm clothing for the soldiers, including woollen caps to be worn under the helmet, which were named balaclavas by the troops.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˌbæl.əˈklɑː.və/, /ˌbɑː.ləˈklɑː.və/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɑːvə


balaclava (plural balaclavas)

  1. A type of warm headgear covering the neck, head, and often part of the face, with apertures left as necessary, often made out of wool.
  2. (chiefly UK, Canada) A ski mask with holes for the eyes and, sometimes, the nose and mouth, which may be rolled up and worn like a toque or pulled over the face for greater protection.
    • 1969, "Robbed seven banks, Balaclava Bill given 15-year term in jail," Globe and Mail (Toronto), 10 Jan., p. 1,
      George Ronald Waite, 33, known as Balaclava Bill because of the dark blue woollen hood he wore while robbing seven banks of $46,200 over the past two years, was sentenced yesterday to 15 years in Kingston Penitentiary.




balaclava f (plural balaclavas)

  1. balaclava (headgear)