A huskarl is a "house-carl," a household warrior or guard. It is considered a great honor to be chosen as a noble's huskarl, since that denoted being a trusted personal guard, like a bodyguard, someone with whom a noble can trust his or her very life.

The proper plural is huskarlar, but I often employ an Anglicized "huskarls" for clarity, especially in The Saga of Asa Oathkeeper. In later work, I use the more correct huskarlar more consistently, since most readers have no trouble with the unusual plural.