- (among American Indians of the northern Pacific coast, especially the Kwakiutl) a ceremonial festival at which gifts are bestowed on the guests and property is destroyed by its owner in a show of wealth that the guests later attempt to surpass.
- Pacific Northwest. a party or celebration.
Origin of potlatch
Examples from the Web for potlatch
Then he proceeds to invite all his friends, up and down the coast, to a potlatch.Jack the Young Canoeman</p>
George Bird Grinnell
And that night at Lewis's they gave Howard Eaton a potlatch.Through Glacier Park
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Potlatch (Give)konaway (every)sun (day)nesika (our)muckamuck.The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, Volume 3
Hubert Howe Bancroft
He had just returned from a Government “potlatch” at the Tulalip agency.Blazing The Way
Emily Inez Denny
We took materials for a potlatch,—leaf-tobacco, rice and sugar.Alaska Days with John Muir</p>
Samuel Hall Young
- anthropol a competitive ceremonial activity among certain North American Indians, esp the Kwakiutl, involving a lavish distribution of gifts and the destruction of property to emphasize the wealth and status of the chief or clan
- US and Canadian informal a wild party or revel
Word Origin and History for potlatch
1845, "a gift," from Chinook jargon pot-latch, "a gift," from Nootka (Wakashan) patshatl "giving, gift." Later (1865) in sense "ceremony in which gifts are exchanged."