a close-fitting, knitted cap that covers the head, neck, and tops of the shoulders, worn especially by mountain climbers, soldiers, skiers, etc.
Also called balaclava helmet.

1880–85; named after Balaklava Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Balaclava or Balaclava helmet (ˌbæləˈklɑːvə)
(often not capitals) a close-fitting woollen hood that covers the ears and neck, as originally worn by soldiers in the Crimean War
[C19: named after Balaklava]
Balaclava helmet or Balaclava helmet
[C19: named after Balaklava]

Balaklava or Balaclava (ˌbæləˈklɑːvə, Russian bəlaˈklavə, ˌbæləˈklɑːvə, Russian bəlaˈklavə)
a small port in Ukraine, in S Crimea: scene of an inconclusive battle (1854), which included the charge of the Light Brigade, during the Crimean War
Balaclava or Balaclava

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"woolen head covering," especially worn by soldiers, evidently named for village near Sebastopol, Russia, site of a battle Oct. 25, 1854, in the Crimean War. But the term (originally Balaclava helmet) does not appear before 1900 and seems to have come into use in the Boer War. The British troops seem
to have suffered from the cold in the Crimean War, and the usage might be a remembrance of that conflict. The town name (Balaklava) often is said to be from Turkish, but is perhaps folk-etymologized from a Gk. original Palakion.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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