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potlatch Line breaks: pot|latch
Pronunciation: /ˈpɒtlatʃ/

Definition of potlatch in English:


(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.
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.
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:
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