Dec 10, 2008 at 12:43 pm #1232539
Why do we have to call it a Balaclava? It is just a hat/cap with a hole in the middle.
We have a cap, hat, beanie, Tuque (Canadian Cap), stocking cap and other single are small double syllable words for the thing we wear on our heads. I feel funny saying “balaclava” for such a small everyday item. Yet we have evolved to be able to say hat, cap, beanie, etc.
Maybe its because the “balaclava” has only been around since the Crimean Campaign (1941). Why didn’t some smart Englishman call it something easier in English?
Maybe we need to make up a good easy name and start a trend. That way we all don’t look/act odd saying “balaclava” when describing a simple cap. Try talking to a bunch of 12 year olds and tell them to bring a “balaclava” on the next outing- you get a bunch of blank stares and they wonder what language you are now speaking and what the heck is it you want them to bring. Even after explaining what it is, they say, “why don’t you just call it a cap with a face hole”, and why are you “trying to sound so cool” saying big words like “balaclava”
Yes this has bugged me for sometime! Someone please come up with a shorter/better name for that simple hat with a hole for your face!Dec 10, 2008 at 1:03 pm #1463460
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> Try talking to a bunch of 12 year olds and tell them to bring a “balaclava” on the next outing
> – you get a bunch of blank stares and they wonder what language you are now speaking and
> what the heck is it you want them to bring. Even after explaining what it is, they say,
> “why don’t you just call it a cap with a face hole”, and why are you “trying to sound so cool”
> saying big words like “balaclava”
Their ignorance of the English language is not a good reason for me to dumb my use of the English language down to the level of an uneducated 12-yr old.
PS: nothing personalDec 10, 2008 at 1:13 pm #1463465
@quoddyLocale: New York/Vermont Border
There's no one in my family, down to and including my 9 granchildren, who doesn't know exactly what a balaclava is. To try to call it by a fabricated name would seem more than downright silly.Dec 10, 2008 at 1:29 pm #1463474
Roger, is not that I want to "dumb it down", I just think there should be a better way to say it. We have come up with the words Gas or Petrol instead of "aliphatic hydrocarbons" or "petroleum-derived liquid mixture". I don't think I am trying to "dumb it down" when I talk to adults about the type of "Gas" I put in my "car", instead of talking about the kind of "aliphatic hydrocarbons" I put in my "automobile".
Just like car and automobile, we need something better then "balaclava".
Just a pet peeve of mineDec 10, 2008 at 1:31 pm #1463476
@srparrLocale: SE Michigan
How about "Head Cozy"? :-)Dec 10, 2008 at 1:42 pm #1463482
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
>>Maybe its because the “balaclava” has only been around since the Crimean War (1941).
The Crimean War was a bit earlier than that. The headgear is named after the Battle of Balaclava, which inspired some smart Englishman to write "Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred".Dec 10, 2008 at 1:45 pm #1463484
te – waParticipant
how about "something you never wear to the bank, no matter how cold it is"
its balaclava. I dont find that hard to pronounce. no harder than tarantula or backpacking.Dec 10, 2008 at 1:55 pm #1463488
.Dec 10, 2008 at 2:04 pm #1463493
Sorry, its Crimean Campaign, not war. (1941-1942)
For more information about the origins of the balaclava see:
I think cap is a lot easier to say then balaclava.
Try it… say "cap" ok, now say "balaclava". "clava" is even easier to say. We do need something better.
We came up with car for automobile, can't we do better the balaclava?Dec 10, 2008 at 2:07 pm #1463496
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
>>Sorry, its Crimean Campaign, not war. (1941-1942)
No it was the Crimean War 1853 – 1856. Charge of the Light Brigade, Battle of Balaclava, etc.Dec 10, 2008 at 2:27 pm #1463499
@srparrLocale: SE Michigan
I like Mike's: "something you never wear to the bank, no matter how cold it is"
How about "the full-face hat that sounds like a greek dessert?"Dec 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm #1463506
>>No it was the Crimean War 1853 – 1856. Charge of the Light Brigade, Battle of Balaclava, etc.<<
My Bad… I was shooting from the hip on the History, regardless we need to come up with something better.
It also sound like the dessert- baklava. I would much rather have the dessert in most situations then the "hat".Dec 10, 2008 at 3:13 pm #1463512
The aforementioned poem was written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. "The charge of the Light Brigade" a lovely poem about a really bad military decision. 600 odd British cavalrymen riding against fortified Russian artillery, with predictable results.
This conflict also gave us "cardigan," used to describe a button up sweater that the 7th earl of cardigan, the leader of the charge wore to fend off the cold.(I think the Brits may have been chilly during this war)
Enough history yet?
When I was a kid, we called it a ski mask, and I'm sure people would know what you were taking about if you called it that.Dec 10, 2008 at 4:20 pm #1463533
"something you never wear to the bank, no matter how cold it is"
LOL! , agreed, this is the best term yet.Dec 10, 2008 at 4:22 pm #1463535
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
I second "head cozy".Dec 10, 2008 at 4:27 pm #1463541
@christownsendLocale: Cairngorms National Park
The full name is of course "balaclava helmet". When I started hiking thick itchy wool balaclavas with a bobble on top were standard wear. I hated them.
Why a piece of protective headwear should still be named after a battle in a nineteenth century European war is one of those strange quirks of nomenclature.Dec 10, 2008 at 10:25 pm #1463605
I call mine Frank.Dec 11, 2008 at 6:29 am #1463636
nmDec 11, 2008 at 7:02 am #1463642
When topics like this begin to appear it means the advent of the 'tween' season. Too cold to backpack, too warm to ice skate.Dec 11, 2008 at 9:54 am #1463680
Denis, I had just seen "balaclava" spelled out about 20 times in a few minutes on this forum and finally snapped!Dec 12, 2008 at 6:28 pm #1464003
That "balaclava" comment sounded a bit silly at first but I also get stuck on some words. For example the use of "chair" to mean chairman and most other "politically correct" terms. ( I used to be blind but now I am non-seeing, but that is an untruth ). Of course the ones that really get on my nerve now escape me.
Balaclava, balaclava, balaclava … how about chocolate eclair ?Dec 13, 2008 at 10:36 am #1464104
This thread got me thinking what are the origins of terms such as
Bivvy, bothy, tent, poncho rucksack etc. Maybe we should have a history forum at BPL.
I do wonder if many of the terms have a British origin.
Now I am back to packing my bivvy into my rucksack and ensuring that my poncho is readily accessible when it starts tipping down.Dec 13, 2008 at 12:41 pm #1464128
One of those words (not a category like politically correct terminology) has come to mind:
Why does it bother me ? I have no idea…
Thank you for volunteering the Wiki article on backpacking etymology.
FrancoDec 15, 2008 at 5:27 pm #1464581
dumping names – hmmm, Orwell in '1984' warned us…
Newspeak is based on standard English, but all words describing "unorthodox" political ideas have been removed. In addition, there was an attempt to remove the overall number of words in general, to limit the range of ideas that could be expressed.
The most important aim of newspeak was to provide a means of speaking that required no thought what-so-ever. It uses abbreviations or clipped conjunctions in order to mask or alter a word's true meaning. For example, words such as Miniluv and joycamp, allow the speaker to speak without actually being force to think about what they were talking about.. or at least, not as much as if they were required to use complete phrases such as "Ministry of Love" or "Forced Labor Camp". These words just roll right off the lips before the speaker can even contemplate what he is really saying.
Reducing the number of words also removes any literary value to writing, because there would only be one distinct way to present any particular concept. It would be impossible to write a book like Common Sense , Uncle Tom's Cabin, or even 1984 in Newspeak. Not only would the correct words for certain concepts not be available, but a lack of adjectives would cause the writing would be completely bland and unemotional, which in itself would keep people from reading at all.Dec 15, 2008 at 5:46 pm #1464587
Just like talking to the teenage clerk at Home Depot the other day. I finally asked "where's a clerk with grey hair?"
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