hilt (n.)

Old English hilt "hilt, handle of a sword or dagger," from Proto-Germanic *helt (source also of Old Norse hjalt, Old High German helza "hilt," Old Saxon helta "oar handle"), of uncertain origin, possibly from PIE root *kel- "to strike, cut" (see holt). Formerly also used in plural in same sense as singular. Up to the hilts "completely" is from 1670s.

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