Definition of potlatch in English:

potlatch

Line breaks: pot|latch
Pronunciation: /ˈpɒtlatʃ
 
/

noun

  • (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.

verb

[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.

Origin

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

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