Easily Confused Words: Baklava vs. Balaclava

Baklava and Balaclava are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Baklava (pronounced “bahk-lah-vah”) is a noun. This a dessert from Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East. It is made with layers of pistachio nuts, phyllo (aka filo) dough, honey, and rosewater. There’s a science channel video on making it from scratch here.

Years ago I took a class where we made three different versions of this dessert: one with walnuts, one with pecans, and one with pistachios. The walnut’s bitterness was a nice contrast, the pecan was extremely sweet, and the pistachio was the traditional flavor.

Balaclava (pronounced “bah-lah-klahv-ah”) is a noun. It means a head, neck, and shoulder covering; it’s named for attire worn in the Crimean War.

In modern times, fabric balaclavas (often made of fleece or wool) are worn by winter sports athletes. This attire keeps vulnerable body parts, like the ears, nose, and neck, warm.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Bali headed out early in the morning to catch the freshest snow. She suited up in her balaclava, her leggings, her jacket, her gloves. Then she grabbed her snowboard and headed out the door. 

Hours later, she came indoors for a break. She had a cup of cocoa and a wedge slice of baklava waiting for her. Nana was the best.

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One thought on “Easily Confused Words: Baklava vs. Balaclava

  1. Sea cost town name Balaklava comes from the Crimean Tatar name for that town which was Balik Avla meaning Fish Hunt (Balik = fish, Avla = to hunt). Crimean Tatar language is a Turkic Uralic based language, however, not quite Turkish.

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