"public sale in which each bidder offers more than the previous bid," 1590s, from Latin auctionem (nominative auctio) "a sale by increasing bids, public sale," noun of action from past-participle stem of augere "to increase," from PIE root *aug- (1) "to increase." In northern England and Scotland, called a roup. In the U.S., something is sold at auction; in England, by auction.
"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 increase." It forms all or part of: auction; augment; augmentative; augur; August; august; Augustus; author; authoritarian; authorize; auxiliary; auxin; eke (v.); inaugurate; nickname; waist; wax (v.1) "grow bigger or greater."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit ojas- "strength," vaksayati "cause to grow;" Lithuanian augu, augti "to grow," aukštas "high, of superior rank;" Greek auxo "increase," auxein "to increase;" Gothic aukan "to grow, increase;" Latin augmentum "an increase, growth," augere "to increase, make big, enlarge, enrich;" Old English eacien "to increase," German wachsen, Gothic wahsjan "to grow, increase."
1560s, "act of sealing with a sign," from consign + -ment. (Earlier in this sense was consignation, 1530s, from Medieval Latin consignatio). Meaning "delivering over" is from 1660s; especially of goods, for the sake of sale or auction, from c. 1700. Meaning "quantity of goods so assigned" is recorded from 1720s.
Old English ofercuman "to reach, overtake, move or pass over," also "to conquer, prevail over, defeat in combat" (the Devil, evil spirits, sin, temptation, etc.), from ofer (see over) + cuman "to come" (see come (v.)). A common Germanic compound (Middle Dutch overkomen, Old High German ubarqueman, German überkommen).
In reference to mental or chemical force, "to overwhelm, render helpless," it is in late Old English. Meaning "to surmount (a difficulty or obstacle); succeed, be successful" is from c. 1200. The Civil Rights anthem "We Shall Overcome" was put together c. 1950s from the lyrics of Charles Tindley's spiritual "I'll Overcome Some Day" (1901) and the melody from the pre-Civil War spiritual "No More Auction Block for Me." Related: Overcame; overcoming.
Middle English sale, from late Old English sala "a sale, act of selling," which according to OED probably is from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse sala "sale," but in either case from Proto-Germanic *salo (source also of Old High German sala, Swedish salu, Danish salg), from PIE root *sal- (3) "to grasp, take."
The specific application to a public auction is by 1670s. The sense of "a selling of shop goods at lower prices than usual" is attested by 1866. To be for sale "available for purchase, intended to be sold" is by 1610s; on sale in the same sense is by 1540s; the earlier form was to sale (late 14c.). Salariat "the salaried class" is by 1918, from French. Also see sales.