among some American Indians of the N Pacific coast,
- [oftenP-] a winter festival
- a distribution or exchange of gifts during such a festival, often involving the squandering of the host's belongings
Origin of potlatchfrom Amerindian (Chinook) patshatl, gift
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 of potlatchChinook Jargon from Nootka p'achitl to make a potlatch gift
From Chinook Jargon potlatch (“gift"), from Nootka pÌ“aÄiÆ› (“to give in ceremony").