hilt

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borrow to the hilt

To borrow a very large amount of money or as much as one possibly can. They've had to borrow to the hilt to get their company off the ground. I hope it succeeds, or they'll be in debt forever. It's a tragedy that so many people have to borrow to the hilt in order to go to college.
See also: borrow, hilt, to

dress to the hilt

To dress in a very formal or extravagant outfit, possibly one so ostentatious or grandiose as to be inappropriate. She dressed to the hilt for the wedding, wearing a gorgeous full-length gown with a large hat, a giant feather boa, and rhinestone-encrusted gloves. Tom is a quirky guy. He always dresses to the hilt, no matter where we're going or what we're doing. Like, we went to get burgers yesterday, and he came in a three-piece suit.
See also: dress, hilt, to

dressed to the hilt

Dressed in a very formal or extravagant outfit, possibly one so ostentatious or grandiose as to be inappropriate. She arrived at the wedding dressed to the hilt, wearing a gorgeous full-length gown with a large hat, a giant feather boa, and rhinestone-encrusted gloves. You could tell the guy was eager. He showed up to the interview for the internship dressed to the hilt, like he was going to meet the Queen or something.
See also: dress, hilt, to

live to the hilt

To do as much as one can or wants to in life; to pursue all of one's interests or desires to the fullest. I'm not surprised to hear that Rachel is currently backpacking through Europe. She's always been determined to live to the hilt. You can't delay your dreams because none of us know what the future will bring. You have to live to the hilt so that you can die without regrets.
See also: hilt, live, to

play (something) to the hilt

To embody or inhabit a particular role as completely or convincingly as possible. The guy they got to be Iago really played him to the hilt. I truly believed he was evil. If I cast you, there are no half measures—you need to play the role to the hilt. I knew that they all expected me to be the villain in that situation, so I decided to play it to the hilt.
See also: hilt, play, to

to the hilt

As much or to the greatest degree possible; completely or utterly. They've had to borrow to the hilt to get the company off the ground. We're ready to defend our client to the hilt in court.
See also: hilt, to

up to the hilt

As much or to the greatest degree possible; completely or utterly. They've had to borrow up to the hilt to get the company off the ground. We're ready to defend our client up to the hilt in court.
See also: hilt, to, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: hilt, to
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

to the hilt

or

up to the hilt

COMMON
1. If you do something to the hilt or up to the hilt, you do it to the greatest possible extent. He'll be a good candidate. We'll back him up to the hilt. If Fred raises this issue tomorrow, I'll defend my actions to the hilt.
2. If you borrow money to the hilt or up to the hilt, you borrow as much as possible. The company had borrowed to the hilt and still needed more capital. His father's estates were mortgaged up to the hilt. Note: The hilt of a sword or knife is its handle. The image here is of a knife or sword being pushed in all the way to the handle.
See also: hilt, to
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

(up) to the hilt

completely.
The image is that of plunging the blade of a knife deeply into something, so that only the hilt is visible.
See also: hilt, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

(up) to the ˈhilt

(support, etc. somebody) completely: I will support you to the hilt on this.
This expression refers to the full length of a sword, up to its handle (= the hilt).
See also: hilt, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

to the hilt

To the limit; completely: played the role to the hilt.
See also: hilt, to
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

up to the hilt

To the utmost. The hilt is the handle of a dagger or sword; when the weapon is plunged all the way into something, only the hilt stays out. The term, also put as to the hilt, was transferred to other kinds of extreme by the seventeenth century. “The estate was mortgaged up to the hilt,” wrote James Payn (Thicker than Water, 1883).
See also: hilt, to, up
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Concerned that Internet users were giving up personal data with no understanding of how it was being used by companies and governments who are not held accountable, Parsons and Hilts said they hope Access My Info will encourage users to exercise more control over their data.
For decades Rolls-Royce legally dumped low-level waste at Hilts Quarry in Crich, before in was shut down in 2002.
Hilts teaches resource science at the Ontario Agricultural College and Mitchell is a researcher at the University of Guelph.
Mr Herbert, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, and the owner of the land have agreed to split the proceeds of the sale of the artefacts, which include sword pommels and hilts, and at least two crosses.
Robert Hilts of Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton, Canada, said the apparant lack is probably because the chemical evaporates easily at temperatures found at Earth's surface.
Swords and knives have hilts and, the way things are going, if you don't get fatally knifed in the back, you may be expected to fall on your sword.
Philip Hilts has been named the third director of the MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellowships, effective this summer.
Mr Foster said some of his wartime activities were depicted on the big screen by McQueen, who played Captain Virgil Hilts in the 1963 movie.
Hilts, no doubt would object to characterizing millions of American consumers as stupid.
ELIZABETH HILTS is trying to align her new home in Connecticut.
Hilts, who has covered FDA as a medicine reporter for the Washington Post and New York Times, shows readers that when it comes to regulation of food and drugs, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
This year, Molly Cliff Hilts was chosen to be the 9th Jubelale painter.
The computer game, launched on August 29, features a digital version of McQueen as Virgil Hilts the Cooler King.
Hilts' new book is such an important and impressive work.