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A member of the bodyguard or household troops of a Danish or Anglo-Saxon king or noble.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Historical Terms) (in medieval Europe) a household warrior of Danish kings and noblemen
[Old English hūscarl, from Old Norse hūskarl manservant, from hūs house + karl man; see churl]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



a member of the household troops or bodyguard of a Danish or early English king or noble.
[before 1050; Middle English; late Old English hūscarl < early Dan hūskarl. See house, carl]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Those were: askebathie and askefise both being terms 'of reproach among northern nations for an unwarlike fellow who stayed at home in the chimney-corner'; housecarl 'a member of the household troops of a Danish king, an armed retainer'; russwale 'walrus hide'; rew 'a burr for a rivet', slenger 'a soldier armed with a sling' and weilster 'a female professional mourner'.
The housecarls (the Anglo-Saxon Brigade of Guards) used the hammer as a specialist weapon - flung over the heads of their own front rank it would strike down enemy troops.
It is a fascinating and brilliantly researched study of one of King Cnut's housecarls and the settlements established by his followers in the southern counties of England, Dorset in particular.
Accompanied by his hand picked guard of Housecarls, loyal and professional soldiers whom even the Norwegians said were worth any two of their own number, he approached the Norwegian King.
You can sense it in the wry glances of the druids and housecarls and fyrdmen, peasants clad in wool blankets and hobbity-looking old women drinking out of wooden hollowware.
I shall give it the title of Exhortation of the Housecarls'" (trans.