to the hilt

Idioms & Phrases

to the hilt

Also, up to the hilt. Completely, to the maximum degree, as in The house was mortgaged up to the hilt. This idiom alludes to the handle (hilt) of a sword, the only portion that remains out when the weapon is plunged all the way in. The figurative use of the term was first recorded in 1687.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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