Definition of balaclava in English:


(also balaclava helmet)


  • A close-fitting garment covering the whole head and neck except for parts of the face, typically made of wool.

    • ‘The raiders are described as white and were wearing black clothes, balaclavas and gloves.’
    • ‘Detectives say the attacker was tall and slim and wearing a dark knitted balaclava and a baseball cap which may have had a silver peak.’
    • ‘The offenders were wearing balaclavas, scarves or hoods pulled down to cover their faces.’
    • ‘The gunman wore a light blue tracksuit and a balaclava of the same colour with the eyes and mouth cut out.’
    • ‘Police patrols in south Manchester will force suspicious characters to remove balaclavas and hoods after a teenager was shot and killed.’
    • ‘He was wearing a dark balaclava, dark coat, blue denim jeans and white trainers.’
    • ‘The man with the gun, clad from head to toe in black clothing and wearing a balaclava underneath the hood of his coat, asked for money.’
    • ‘The team also have no intention of swapping their headscarves for the traditional hats and balaclavas.’
    • ‘Three men, wearing boilersuits and balaclavas, were involved in the raid, which left a security guard slightly injured.’
    • ‘The gunman, who wore a balaclava and a black bomber jacket, ran out of the house and fled the area, initially on foot.’
    • ‘Do you agree with the policy to make youngsters remove balaclavas or hoods?’
    • ‘I wear a balaclava under my helmet: the assistant then refused to serve me because they couldn't see my face.’
    • ‘Actually, the faces were barely visible - just the eyes through the slits in the woollen balaclavas they wore.’
    • ‘The men, one wearing a baseball cap and the other a balaclava, got out and used a baton to smash the passenger side window of the Corsa.’
    • ‘Our costumes would be SAS uniforms, with balaclavas to hide our faces.’
    • ‘Gardaí said the assailants wore balaclavas and motorcycle helmets and made their getaway on a black motorcycle.’
    • ‘They were all wearing balaclavas, dark close-fitting clothes and short bomber-style jackets.’
    • ‘I suppose it could have been some sort of hat rather than a balaclava.’
    • ‘She had just walked out of a beauty salon when she was attacked by six men wearing balaclavas and dark clothing.’
    • ‘Should councils be allowed to stop people wearing hoods and balaclavas?’


Late 19th century (worn originally by soldiers on active service in the Crimean War): named after the port of Balaclava in the Crimea (see Balaclava, Battle of).