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Definition of "potlatch" []

  • 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. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "potlatch" in a sentence
  • "PS: Yeah, kids: I saw the Democratic flash poll, and I saw that the current state of the potlatch is at, what, $750K at this point?"
  • "Anthropologists have long been intrigued by "potlatch" - roughly, competitive gift giving - an economic behavior exhibited among tribes of the Pacific Northwest."
  • "The curious custom of the "potlatch" -- a man invites his friends and neighbors to a gathering and makes them magnificent presents, his reputation being great in proportion to the extent of his gifts -- appears to be a device for laying up property; the host in his turn receives presents from friends and neighbors."