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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
  • The other parts of the hilt are in proper keeping, the grip terminating in an eagle, splendidly sculptured.
  • Everyone from grande dames to small children turn out hatted, gloved and generally dressed to the hilt.
  • The knuckles of the officer's fist around his sword hilt were white.
  • Furthermore, here's one movie circus that is not mortgaged to the hilt or terrorized by escaping animals.
  • If you want to dress to the hilt but do not want to pack a tux, visit your ship's website.
  • The parks are decorated to the hilt and special concerts and events are included in the admission fee.
  • In order to work the dagger, you press a red jewel on the hilt, which suspiciously resembles a button on a game controller.
  • They operated out of the trunks of their beat-up cars with the back seats also piled to the hilt with merchandise.
  • Farmers mortgaged their plantations to the hilt, so that they could replant and begin farming again.
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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