To the hilt

To the hilt is an idiom that has been in use for quite some time. We will examine the meaning of the idiomatic phrase to the hilt, where it may have come from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

To the hilt means to the maximum, to the utmost, to the full extent. To do something to the hilt means to give your all, to put forth the most effort possible. The idiom to the hilt seems to have come into use in the mid-1700s and calls upon the imagery of sword fighting. The hilt is the handle of a sword, dagger, knife, or other stabbing weapon. To thrust such a weapon into one’s opponent as far as the hilt is the supreme, maximum sword fighting move. Today, the phrase to the hilt has nothing to do with weaponry, and is used in expressions such as living life to the hilt.

Examples

There’s no way to know if these fans will continue to back the team to the hilt, or if they’ll revolt as they did under the Della Valles. (Viola Nation)

States became more powerful, armed its security personnel to the hilt and turned them against perceived enemies, both within and beyond the borders. (The National Herald)

One of the drivers, Scott Reid, said he had his six-pallet truck, a mate’s eight-tonne tipper and a people mover van “full to the hilt” with food, water and drinks, toilet paper, baby wipes, sanitary items and plenty more. (The Canberra Times)

This is an excellent opportunity to confront the Modi Government and embarrass it to the hilt. (The Daily Pioneer)