auc·​tion | \ ˈȯk-shən How to pronounce auction (audio) \

Definition of auction

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sale of property to the highest bidder
2 : the act or process of bidding in some card games


auctioned; auctioning\ ˈȯk-​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce auction (audio) \

Definition of auction (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to sell at auction auctioned off his library

Examples of auction in a Sentence

Noun She bought the desk at an auction. He made several bids at the auction. Verb They auctioned a similar desk last year. The house was auctioned last week.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Consider this: There are experts who say half the art sold at auction is fake. CBS News, 31 July 2022 Now it can only be acquired through the secondary market when the style occasionally surfaces at auction. Leena Kim, Town & Country, 30 July 2022 One set sold at auction comprised 10 NFTs conferring lifetime passes to the annual event. Ann-marie Alcántara, WSJ, 29 July 2022 Excavated from South Dakota, Sue was the most valuable fossil to ever sell at auction at the time. Yenny Sanchez, CNN, 28 July 2022 Culture Minister Alejandra Frausto Guerrero has tried to stop sales of cultural items at auction. Terry Tang, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 July 2022 The document is on loan from Ken Griffin, founder of the hedge fund Citadel, who bid a record-breaking $43 million for it at auction last year, reports the Guardian’s David Smith. Tara Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 July 2022 The next day, according to the warrants, Baker got a tip that Jones and the ranch hands had previously rounded up stray livestock to sell at auction without notifying the sheriff, as required by state law. Susan Carroll, NBC News, 22 July 2022 But a miniature 50ml bottle of single malt scotch whisky just broke a new record by selling for nearly $9,000 at auction, the equivalent of nearly $200 per milliliter of liquid. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 22 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb RM Sotheby’s will auction off a stunning pre-production example of the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 during Monterey Car Week. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 22 July 2022 Now, on July 7, Sotheby’s will auction a rare 399-year-old copy of the book, which is estimated to sell for $1.5 to $2.5 million. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 June 2022 The government will also auction four-week and eight-week bills May 26. Peyton Forte | Bloomberg News, Washington Post, 20 May 2022 Duties can range from social media posts to autographed memorabilia that the nonprofit organization can then auction off. Justin Martinez, USA TODAY, 29 Apr. 2022 Financial help for children displaced by the war in Ukraine was due to come from an unlikely quarter later Monday, when Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov looked to auction off his Nobel Peace Prize medal in New York. David Keyton,, 20 June 2022 Elton John has made his entrance into the world of web3 by partnering with Jadu and Sweet to auction a Rocket Man NFT hoverboard that will let Metaverse avatars fly in style, with all sales benefiting the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Thania Garcia, Variety, 20 June 2022 The card currently belongs to three Whatnot users who purchased a stake in the pull and have opted to auction it off – and maybe Drake will get in on the action again. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 6 June 2022 The battle centers on who can fairly claim ownership of the frock, and whether Catholic University and Bonhams should be allowed to auction it off. Melissa Korn, WSJ, 3 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'auction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of auction


1595, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1723, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for auction


Latin auction-, auctio, from augēre to increase — more at eke

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Time Traveler for auction

Time Traveler

The first known use of auction was in 1595

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Dictionary Entries Near auction

au courant


auction bridge

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Statistics for auction

Last Updated

3 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Auction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for auction


auc·​tion | \ ˈȯk-shən How to pronounce auction (audio) \

Kids Definition of auction

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a public sale at which things are sold to those who offer to pay the most


auctioned; auctioning

Kids Definition of auction (Entry 2 of 2)

: to sell at an auction The art was auctioned today.



Legal Definition of auction

: a public sale of property to the highest bidder — see also reserve


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