Definition of Becket, St Thomas à
- (circa 1118–70), English prelate and statesman, Archbishop of Canterbury 1162–70. He began openly to oppose Henry II, who uttered words in anger which led four knights to assassinate Becket in his cathedral. Henry was obliged to do public penance at Becket’s tomb, which became a major centre of pilgrimage until its destruction under Henry VIII (1538). Feast day, 29 December.