1590s, "power of hearing," from Middle French audicion "hearing (in a court of law)," from Latin auditionem (nominative auditio) "a hearing, listening to," noun of action from past participle stem of audire "hear" (see audience). Meaning "trial for a performer" first recorded 1881.
"to try out for a performance part," 1935, from audition (n.). Transitive sense by 1944. Related: Auditioned; auditioning.
audition au·di·tion (ô-dĭsh'ən)
The sense, ability, or power of hearing.