from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • Becket, Saint Thomas à 1118?-1170. English Roman Catholic martyr. Chancellor to Henry II after 1154, he was appointed archbishop of Canterbury (1162) and fell into disfavor with the king. Charged with misappropriating crown funds (1164), Becket fled the country. Upon his return (1170) he was embroiled in the controversy surrounding Henry's appointment of his son as archbishop of York and was murdered by four knights in Canterbury Cathedral. He was canonized in 1173.


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