Definition of auction in English:



  • 1A public sale in which goods or property are sold to the highest bidder.

    ‘the books are expected to fetch a six-figure sum at tomorrow's auction’
    • ‘A painting by a popular Victorian artist from Yorkshire could be heading out of the country after its sale at a London auction.’
    • ‘There were a number of bidders involved in both auctions but none of the properties reached the desired price.’
    • ‘Top quality Irish furniture has continued to fetch premium prices, whether sold by dealers or bought at country house sales or auctions.’
    • ‘The well-established tradition for farmers to take the livestock for sale to their local auction market is now under threat.’
    • ‘Lancashire County Council, which owns the home, have put the building up for sale at an auction to be held in Manchester on October 15.’
    • ‘They were going to sell her TV and furniture at a public auction.’
    • ‘According to the company, this will be the first time the local government has held such a public auction to sell land.’
    • ‘Many Japanese flags and other articles like swords are sold on Internet auctions and at flea markets.’
    • ‘An auction sale held on Tuesday raised £750,000 for Giggleswick School.’
    • ‘We will then select a venue for the auction sale and potential purchasers can come and bid for each lot.’
    • ‘Donations for the auction and sale will be gratefully accepted.’
    • ‘Most properties are subject to a reserve price below which the auctioneer cannot sell the property at the auction.’
    • ‘An engineer has recovered tools which were stolen six months ago after he spotted them for sale on an internet auction site.’
    • ‘He is one of four young professionals who have made their mark in the world of auctions and antique sales.’
    • ‘Once you learn what to look for, you can buy wisely at auctions, estate sales, or straight off the showroom floor.’
    • ‘Such moments are relatively rare at auctions, but every sale has a sense of theatre, no matter what the sums of money involved.’
    • ‘They attended an auction for the sale of the property which was held on 7 April 2001.’
    • ‘Sales through public auctions could begin as early as the beginning of next year.’
    distribution, disposal, allocation, transfer, transference, conveyance, making over, bestowal, bequest
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1mass noun The action or process of selling something to the highest bidder.
      ‘the Ferrari sold at auction for £10 million’
      • ‘This was because after her death, her collection was sold at auction and only a few items remained or were bought back.’
      • ‘A copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic has been sold at auction for almost 400,000 euros.’
      • ‘If you decide to sell items at auction take the advice of a good firm of auctioneers.’
      • ‘A collection of classic motorbikes worth more than £10,000 are to be sold at auction.’
      • ‘At the time, it was the most expensive residential property sold by public auction.’
      • ‘The hotel is in a sale of properties by auction later this month.’
      • ‘A vintage 1929 Mercedes Benz was sold at auction last week to an anonymous buyer.’
      • ‘If you really do want to sell quickly, then you should consider selling your house at auction.’
      • ‘The valuables could be identified immediately if a thief tries to sell them at auction.’
      • ‘The buying and selling of horses at auction is a peculiar practice.’
      • ‘A rare first edition copy of Jane Eyre sold at auction for almost £23,000.’
      • ‘Others were sold off at auction and are strewn across the world.’
      • ‘The painting, which has not been seen for 100 years, is due to be sold at auction in New York on November 3.’
      • ‘All the historical artefacts rescued from the building will be sold at auction next month.’
      • ‘A lock of hair believed to belong to Mary Queen of Scots sold at auction yesterday.’
      • ‘It also became the most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction.’
      • ‘The property is for sale by public auction on October 16 with a guide price of €1.6 million.’
  • 2Bridge
    The part of the play in which players bid to decide the contract in which the hand shall be played.

    • ‘It's guaranteed that at least one player will not win an auction until at least the sixth turn.’
    • ‘After the deal there is an auction in which players bid the number of points their team will try to win.’
    • ‘A player who has passed cannot bid again during the auction.’
    • ‘There is next an auction to decide who will be the declarer.’
    • ‘Players will only be dealt 12 cards and there will be an auction for the remaining four cards.’
    • ‘Each hand begins with an auction in which players can bid a contract that they are prepared to play.’
    • ‘If everyone passes a second time, three more cards are passed as before and the auction begins again.’
    • ‘At the beginning of each hand there is an auction to decide who will be declarer.’
    • ‘The player who prevailed in the auction becomes declarer, and the final bid determines the contract.’
    • ‘Each player bids until one wins the auction and gets the contract.’


[with object]
  • Sell or offer for sale at an auction.

    ‘the painting was auctioned at Christie's’
    • ‘Six of her paintings have even been auctioned for the Earthquake Relief Fund.’
    • ‘She is now repaying the favour by auctioning her autographs to raise money to help redevelop the famous theatre.’
    • ‘He added that many of the paintings had not been auctioned before which made them particularly attractive to collectors.’
    • ‘The amount obtained by auctioning the paintings will be contributed to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.’
    • ‘I wonder if Christie's, where he is deputy chairman, will be auctioning the painting?’
    • ‘He revealed he was considering sketching two portraits of the famous singer, with one being auctioned for charity.’
    • ‘The winning entries would be auctioned and the proceeds donated to charity.’
    • ‘Last week an original copy of the Declaration of Independence was auctioned for $8 million.’
    • ‘To their dismay, the same trees were than auctioned off to a sports goods company.’
    • ‘The literary gems are to be auctioned as part of a major book sale.’
    • ‘They rented that flat and the owner is auctioning it in the next couple of weeks.’
    • ‘He maintained that he had no idea about the land being auctioned off.’
    • ‘Most of Geoffrey's collection was auctioned off following his death.’
    • ‘Apparently the movie rights have already been auctioned.’
    • ‘At the end, all the works are auctioned to raise money for charity.’
    • ‘Arnold auctioned two watches he wore in his most recent film, with proceeds going to aid needy children.’
    • ‘The shop's stock is expected to be auctioned by estate agents later this month.’
    • ‘The donations will be auctioned off at the end of the evening.’
    • ‘During that time he has auctioned both prime and store stock in several of the leading livestock markets across the country.’
    • ‘I have heard that they have since been auctioned at a huge profit.’
    sell, supply, provide, furnish, cater, retail, deal in, trade, carry, handle, stock, offer, have for sale, put on the market, peddle, hawk, tout, traffic in
    View synonyms


Late 16th century: from Latin auctio(n-) ‘increase, auction’, from the verb augere ‘to increase’.