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[awk-shuh n] /ˈɔk ʃən/
Also called public sale. a publicly held sale at which property or goods are sold to the highest bidder.
  1. auction bridge.
  2. (in bridge or certain other games) the competitive bidding to fix a contract that a player or players undertake to fulfill.
verb (used with object)
to sell by auction (often followed by off):
He auctioned off his furniture.
Origin of auction
1585-95; < Latin auctiōn- (stem of auctiō) an increase, especially in the bidding at a sale, equivalent to auct(us) increased, past participle of augēre (aug- increase + -tus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
auctionable, adjective
auctionary, adjective
proauction, adjective
unauctioned, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for auction
  • It's a sort of online version of a local auction house, but one with global reach and where the sale room never closes.
  • He pulled out his laptop and showed us similar objects for sale on an auction house's website.
  • The auction list is a preliminary list and subject to change before sale day.
  • Rarely has an auction of spectrum been so closely watched.
  • Today her works fetch astronomical prices at auction.
  • Jennifer turned a slab of wood found at a state auction into a dining table with recycled copper pipes as legs.
  • The online auction house suspends a user accused of cheating its customers.
  • Unexpected things come to the auction block sometimes.
  • Cars at wholesale auction often bring less than the scrap material value of the vehicle.
  • Both auction houses have also put a lot of effort into advising buyers on how to improve their collections.
British Dictionary definitions for auction


a public sale of goods or property, esp one in which prospective purchasers bid against each other until the highest price is reached Compare Dutch auction
the competitive calls made in bridge and other games before play begins, undertaking to win a given number of tricks if a certain suit is trumps
(transitive) often foll by off. to sell by auction
Word Origin
C16: from Latin auctiō an increasing, from augēre to increase
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 auction

"a sale by increase of bids," 1590s, from Latin auctionem (nominative auctio) "an increasing sale, auction, public sale," noun of action from past participle stem of augere "to increase," from PIE root *aug- "to increase" (see augment). In northern England and Scotland, called a roup. In the U.S., something is sold at auction; in England, by auction.


1807, from auction (n.). Related: Auctioned; auctioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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