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potlatch

[pot-lach] /ˈpɒt lætʃ/
noun
1.
(among American Indians of the northern Pacific coast, especially the Kwakiutl) a ceremonial festival at which gifts are bestowed on the guests and property is destroyed by its owner in a show of wealth that the guests later attempt to surpass.
2.
Pacific Northwest. a party or celebration.
Origin
1835-1845
1835-45; < Chinook Jargon pátlač, páλač < Nootka p̉aλp̉a- (reduplication of p̉a- make ceremonial gifts in potlatch) + suffix marking iterative aspect
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for potlatch
  • The dedication and raising of a totem pole is accompanied by a great potlatch, a public feast often involving lavish gift giving.
  • Now here comes everybody, and they're bringing their own dialects to the online potlatch.
British Dictionary definitions for potlatch

potlatch

/ˈpɒtˌlætʃ/
noun
1.
(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.
(US & Canadian, informal) a wild party or revel
Word Origin
C19: from Chinook, from Nootka patshatl a giving, present
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for potlatch
n.

1845, "a gift," from Chinook jargon pot-latch, "a gift," from Nootka (Wakashan) patshatl "giving, gift." Later (1865) in sense "ceremony in which gifts are exchanged."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Difficulty index for potlatch

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Word Value for potlatch

15
17
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