The fascinating linguistic legacy of the Crimean War

You can thank a 160-year-old battle for a famous poem, distinctive headwear, and cozy sweaters

Earl Cardigan
(Image credit: (Bettmann/CORBIS, Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images))

March 28, 2014, is the 160th anniversary of Britain declaring war on Russia to formally start the Crimean War. The war was fought by Britain, France, and the Ottoman Empire against Russia, mainly to curtail Russia's presence and ambitions in the Black Sea and Eastern Europe. It lasted until 1856, and was fought in several places, not just Crimea. But it's best remembered for just one battle, a battle that was vaunted as glorious and heroic by the side that lost it (but won the war) — and that has left us with some misquotations, three articles of clothing, and some lessons in accidental and deliberate miscommunication.

Here is your pocket guide to what we owe to that battle.

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