Balaclava definitions

băl'ə-klä'və
A knitted cap covering the head and neck with an opening for the eyes or face, used as cold-weather gear especially by soldiers, mountain climbers, and skiers.
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A knitted covering for the head and neck, with an opening for the nose and eyes, worn for protection against wind and extreme cold.
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A warm cap shielding the neck and head, often made out of wool.
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(chiefly 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.
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Origin of balaclava

From the city of Balaklava in the Crimea, in Turkish balıklava (“fishing ground”). During the Crimean War the British troops suffered of cold due to improper clothing. When the news spread in the home front after the Battle of Balaclava, 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.