to the hilt

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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.

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.

(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.

(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).

to the hilt

To the limit; completely: played the role to the hilt.
References in periodicals archive ?
But a second pathologist, Dr Peter Jerreat, said he had not seen any evidence that the knife had gone up to the hilt.
The actors also get further into their roles; Harrison Ford, in particular, pushes Han Solo's temperamental boyishness and yen for Leia (Carrie Fisher) to the next step, hamming it up to the hilt and appearing to thoroughly enjoy himself, while Fisher, mercifully, gets a fashion remake with better hair and more with-it clothes.
They had me in a tutu thing and a boa, and made me up to the hilt.