Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to potlatch: Potlatch State Park


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.

[Chinook Jargon, from Nootka p'achitl, to make a potlatch gift.]


1. (Anthropology & Ethnology) anthropol a competitive ceremonial activity among certain North American Indians, esp the Kwakiutl, involving a lavish distribution of gifts and the destruction of property to emphasize the wealth and status of the chief or clan
2. informal US and Canadian a wild party or revel
[C19: from Chinook, from Nootka patshatl a giving, present]


(ˈpɒt lætʃ)

1. (among American Indians of the N Pacific coast, esp. the Kwakiutl) a ceremonial festival at which the sponsor bestows gifts lavishly upon the guests and sometimes destroys unbestowed gifts, thereby gaining or increasing social prestige.
2. Pacific Northwest. a party or celebration.
[1835–45; < Chinook Jargon pátlač, páλač < Nootka]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.potlatch - 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)
fete, fiesta, feast - an elaborate party (often outdoors)
ceremonial, ceremonial occasion, ceremony, observance - a formal event performed on a special occasion; "a ceremony commemorating Pearl Harbor"
References in periodicals archive ?
I THOUGHT OF these verses while attending a memorial potlatch in Tanana, Alaska, for the Rev.
U'mista Cultural Centre, founded in 1980 to house potlatch artifacts that were seized by the government in 1921, operates a museum and offers cultural education in Alert Bay from May to September.
Use of the land reverts to Potlatch after a full harvest cycle is completed, and no later than 30 years after the trees were planted, the company said.
1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- National, regional and Minnesota conservation organizations today joined in celebrating certification of Potlatch Corporation's 319,000 acres of Minnesota forestland and its Bemidji sawmill as being in compliance with the rigorous environmental, social and economic standards of the internationally recognized Forest Stewardship Council - US(R) (FSC).
However his views aren't completely shared by some growers like Potlatch, a firm with dual certification from both FSC and SFI for its 1.
Potlatch earned certification under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and ISO 14001 in 2002.
Or, more specifically, according to the logic of potlatch, with its connotations of challenge and rivalry, since potlatch always assumes the eventual ruin of the one receiving the offerings.
5 shares of Potlatch stock held by Potlatch stockholders as of the Dec.
Potlatch will make all fundings, results, recommendations and reports available to the public.
Potlatch Corporation and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) have signed an agreement to pursue a working-forest conservation easement on substantial portions of Potlatch's 670,000 acres of Idaho forestlands.
The board of directors of Potlatch Corporation (NASDAQ:PCH) has declared a quarterly distribution on the Company's common stock.