Definition of potlatch in English:


Line breaks: pot|latch
Pronunciation: /ˈpɒtlatʃ


(Among North American Indian peoples of the north-west coast) an opulent ceremonial feast at which possessions are given away or destroyed to display wealth or enhance prestige.
More example sentences
  • In the society of survival, where the agonistic and vertiginous play of the potlatch is displaced by accumulation, an awareness of this has a deleterious effect on humanity.
  • In the potlatches of the Chinook, Nootka, and other Pacific Northwest peoples, for example, chiefs vied to give the most blankets and other valuables.
  • The Inuit who held the potlatch would often give away his most valuable possessions at the ceremony.


[no object] Back to top  
Hold a potlatch.
More example sentences
  • As I showed previously, this was possible due to their strong system of private property rights enforced through sophisticated reciprocity relations known as potlatching.


Chinook Jargon, from Nootka p'ačitł 'make a gift at a potlatch'.

Definition of potlatch in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day hypnopompic
Pronunciation: ˌhɪpnə(ʊ)ˈpɒmpɪk
relating to the state immediately preceding waking up