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[hilt] /hɪlt/
the handle of a sword or dagger.
the handle of any weapon or tool.
verb (used with object)
to furnish with a hilt.
to the hilt, to the maximum extent or degree; completely; fully:
to play the role to the hilt.
Also, up to the hilt.
Origin of hilt
before 900; Middle English, Old English hilt(e); cognate with Middle Dutch hilt(e), Old Norse hjalt, Old High German helza handle of a sword Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hilt
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I have the parts—now for the whole,' he said, laying his hand on the hilt of his sword.

  • He would not have it in the scabbard, and when I laid it naked in his hand he kissed the hilt.

    The Cavalier George Washington Cable
  • Its hilt and sheath were massive ivory, yellow with age, carved deeply with grotesques of men in combat.

    The Barrier Allen French
  • If I could have mistaken the hilt, I could not mistake the split sheath.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • The knife had pierced Dave's chest until the hilt pressed against his rib cage.

    The Sky Is Falling Lester del Rey
  • Wondering, the German unsheathed the weapon, and proffered the hilt to his master.

  • Then, drawing his sword, he struck the Gate of Paradise with the hilt.

British Dictionary definitions for hilt


the handle or shaft of a sword, dagger, etc
to the hilt, to the full
(transitive) to supply with a hilt
Word Origin
Old English; related to Old Norse hjalt, Old Saxon helta oar handle, Old High German helza
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hilt

Old English hilt "hilt, handle of a sword or dagger," from Proto-Germanic *helt (cf. Old Norse hjalt, Old High German helza "hilt," Old Saxon helta "oar handle"), perhaps from PIE *kel- "to strike." Formerly also used in plural in same sense as singular.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with hilt


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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