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Also called public sale. a publicly held sale at which property or goods are sold to the highest bidder.

(in bridge or certain other games) the competitive bidding to fix a contract that a player or players undertake to fulfill.

to sell by auction (often followed by off):
He auctioned off his furniture.
Contemporary Examples

Skinny tie tells me that it was found in a storage locker in 2011 and auctioned for $2.1 million.
The Holy Grail of Comic Books Hid in Plain Site at New York Comic Con Sujay Kumar October 13, 2014

On Sunday, some 125 extraterrestrial rocks will be auctioned off.
New York City Stages Largest Meteorite Auction Ever Lizzie Crocker October 9, 2012

In early December she auctioned herself off for $10,000 to make and serve dinner at her home for 10 people .
Rita Moreno, SAG Life Achievement Award Winner, Talks Brando, Elvis And West Side Story Sandra McElwaine January 14, 2014

The largest D color flawless diamond ever auctioned, the 101.73 carat jewel is expected to fetch at least $20 million.
‘Absolute Perfection’ Diamond Up for Auction William O’Connor May 13, 2013

A group of unseen watercolor fruit studies by Salvador Dalí are going to be auctioned on June 18 at Bonham’s in London.
Unseen Dalí Paintings Up For Auction William O’Connor June 16, 2013

Historical Examples

These are taken to Ghijiga, and there auctioned off to the highest bidder.
In Search of a Siberian Klondike Homer B. Hulbert

Yes, madam, everything: they are all to be auctioned at Dycer’s to-day.
Roland Cashel Charles James Lever

His job was to wash their faces and hands and fix their hair—comb and cut and braid their hair and dress them to be auctioned off.
Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves: Volume II, Arkansas Narratives, Part 2 Work Projects Administration

When they auctioned them off they would come, pick out what they wanted to sell next and fill them blocks again.
Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, Arkansas Narratives, Part 4 Work Projects Administration

The next time they put me up in a wagon and auctioned me off.
Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves Work Projects Administration

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
See auction bridge
(transitive) often foll by off. to sell by 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.


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