A balaclava, balaclava helmet or ski mask is a form of headgear covering the whole head, exposing only the face (and often only the eyes). The name "balaclava" comes from the town of Balaklava in Crimea. During the Crimean War, knitted balaclavas were sent over to the British troops to help protect them from the bitter cold weather. They are traditionally knitted from wool, and can be rolled up into a hat to cover just the crown of the head. Modern balaclavas can be made from a number of materials, such as silk, cotton, polypropylene, neoprene, wool or fleece. Modern balaclavas are also used in outdoor winter sports activities such as skiing or snowboarding to help protect the face from the cold wind and maintain warmth.

Additionally, balaclavas are often associated with special forces units such as the SAS, or alternately with muggers, terrorists, and activists, where they act as a form of disguise. In the UK the term IRA balaclava is often used to distinguish it from similar types of headwear.

Racing drivers may also wear balaclavas made of fire-retardant material underneath their crash helmets in order to improve protection in case of a fire following an accident, and commonly cover the nose and mouth to reduce inhalation of smoke and fumes. Dragster-racing drivers usually wear balaclavas which have just two separate eyeholes because of the increased fire risk.
Balaclava
AKA Ski Mask, Balaclava Helmet
by P.redeckis June 10, 2006
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A warm woolen hood covering the head and neck, leaving a slot for parts of the face, they are comfortable in winter and sometimes act as face protection.
a.k.a. Balaclava Helmet
by P. Redeckis April 22, 2006
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A type of facemask that usually covers up most of the face, save for the eyes. They come in all kinds of different brands and forms. Balaclavas are especially comfy during the winter, but don't walk into a store wearing one unless you want to be labeled as a terrorist.
"Not only do terrorists wear balaclavas, you prejudgmental fuckshit. Special-forces wear them as well! But no, no one will listen to me because they prefer to live in negativity, and fear."
-me
by Dave September 09, 2004
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An all male orgy mostly consisting of east cost rappers that snitch on each other and dog their so called friends. Also known for making sub standard music.
that balaclava party left me real sore last night
by themuntlord August 12, 2012
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Wet Balaclava - Noun - a colloquium to describe the type of beating you get when it's raining and you're up the Shankill
Eoin made a mistake and took a walk up the Shankill. He ended up in the hospital after a wet balaclava
by NothingButBant March 12, 2016
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Juvenile thugs who terrorised secondary schools during the late 70's to early 80's. To become a Balaclava boy was, for many, a great honour and the initiation ceremony was brutal: a rubber suction pad was placed on the arm or hand and removed with force. The resulting ring became known as, 'the mark of the Balaclava Boys'. Balaclava theft was, perhaps unsurprisongly, rife during this period as would be Balaclava Boys strived to emulate their dubious role models.
Is that?....On your hand? No!.....No!....It's....It's.....The Mark of the Balaclava Boys!
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*Shudder*
This brings back horrible memories for me. ..
During my school days this horrid gang of brats made my life a complete hell with their rubber-sucky red rings and juvenile pranks - I still wake up in a cold sweat sometimes. They were, at least in my school, the roughest, toughest gang of boys around and the ruthlessness with which they performed their savage initiation ceremony was a sight to behold - leaving some members scarred for minutes, if not hours.
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