[awk-shuh n]


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 formsauc·tion·a·ble, adjectiveauc·tion·ar·y, adjectivepro·auc·tion, adjectiveun·auc·tioned, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for auction

sell-off, jam, bargain

Examples from the Web for auction

Contemporary Examples of auction

Historical Examples of auction

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 reachedCompare 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


(tr often foll by off) to sell by auction

Word Origin for auction

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

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