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.

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

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To hilt
World English Dictionary
hilt (hɪlt)
1.  the handle or shaft of a sword, dagger, etc
2.  to the hilt to the full
3.  (tr) to supply with a hilt
[Old English; related to Old Norse hjalt, Old Saxon helta oar handle, Old High German helza]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

O.E. hilt, from P.Gmc. *kheltiz (cf. O.N. hjalt, O.H.G. helza "hilt," O.S. helta "oar handle"), of uncertain origin. Formerly also used in pl. in same sense as singular.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see to the hilt.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
The other parts of the hilt are in proper keeping, the grip terminating in an eagle, splendidly sculptured.
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.
Idioms & Phrases
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature