from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. 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.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A ceremony amongst certain Native American peoples of the Pacific northwest in which gifts are bestowed upon guests and personal property is destroyed in a show of wealth and generosity.
- n. A communal meal to which guests bring dishes to share.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Among the Kwakiutl, Chimmesyan, and other Indians of the northwestern coast of North America, a ceremonial distribution by a man of gifts to his own and neighboring tribesmen, often, formerly, to his own impoverishment. Feasting, dancing, and public ceremonies accompany it.
- n. Hence, a feast given to a large number of persons, often accompanied by gifts.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Among some American Indians, a gift.
- n. An Indian feast, often lasting several days, given to the tribe by a member who aspires to the position of chief, and whose reputation is estimated by the number and value of the gifts distributed at the feast.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a ceremonial feast held by some Indians of the northwestern coast of North America (as in celebrating a marriage or a new accession) in which the host gives gifts to tribesmen and others to display his superior wealth (sometimes, formerly, to his own impoverishment)
Chinook Jargon, from Nootka p'achitl, to make a potlatch gift.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Chinook Jargon potlatch ("gift"), from Nootka p̓ačiƛ ("to give in ceremony"). (Wiktionary)