From Middle English hilt, hilte, from Old English hilt, hilte, from Proto-Germanic *heltą, *heltǭ, *heltō, *hiltijō, (whence also Old Norse hjalt, Old High German helza, Old Saxon helta), from Proto-Indo-European *kel- (“to strike, cut”) (see holt).
hilt (plural hilts)
- The handle of a sword, consisting of grip, guard, and pommel, designed to facilitate use of the blade and afford protection to the hand.
- The base of the penis
- (transitive) To provide with a hilt.
1973, Ugo Pericoli, 1815: the armies at Waterloo, page 78:
- Being lightly hilted, it was very heavy in the point and was useful only as an unscientific chopper, dangerous if it connected with a vital part of an adversary, ideal for cutting at defenceless infantry, but unsuitable for sabre to sabre action, especially against the French equivalent, a beautifully balanced weapon, which was so functional that it was still used by the French cavalry in 1918, while a copy was used by the Prussians in the war of 1870.
1978, Martin Louis Alan Gompertz, Adventures in Sakaeland, page 68:
- She took a ray of light from the moon, the lamp which stands on her adorning table, and fashioned it into a bright dagger. She hilted it with the turquoise of the morning sky, with some of the stars in it for better grip, and gave it to Gulsera, whispering in her ear.