"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," 1807, from auction (n.). Commonly with off. Related: Auctioned; auctioning.
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