"a state of limited competition in which a market is shared by a few producers or sellers," 1887, from Medieval Latin oligopolium, from Greek oligos "little, small," in plural, "the few" (a word of uncertain origin) + pōlein "to sell" (from PIE root *pel- (4) "to sell."). Related: Oligopolist.
"man licensed to sell papal pardons or indulgences," late 14c. (early 14c. as a surname), agent noun from pardon (v.).
"sell by auction," by 1723 (implied in auctioned), from auction (n.). Since early 19c., commonly with off (adv.). Related: Auctioning.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to sell."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit panate "barters, purchases;" Lithuanian pelnas "gain;" Greek pōlein "to sell;" Old Church Slavonic splenu, Russian polon "prey, booty;" Old Norse falr, Dutch veil, German feil "for sale, venal."