- (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
Related Wordsfestivity, picnic, repast, festival, fiesta, dinner, gala, barbecue, blow, carousal, carnival, blowout, entertainment, refreshment, fete, spread, regale, treat, merrymaking, wassail
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
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
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."