among some American Indians of the N Pacific coast,
a winter festival
a distribution or exchange of gifts during such a festival, often involving the squandering of the host's belongings
< AmInd (Chinook) patshatl, gift
See potlatch in American Heritage Dictionary 4
A ceremonial feast among certain Native American peoples of the northwest Pacific coast, as in celebration of a marriage or accession, at which the host distributes gifts according to each guest's rank or status. Between rival groups the potlatch could involve extravagant or competitive giving and destruction by the host of valued items as a display of superior wealth.
Origin: Chinook Jargon
Origin: , from Nootka p'achitl, to make a potlatch gift