auction

auctionable, adj.auctionary, adj.
/awk"sheuhn/, n.
1. Also called public sale. a publicly held sale at which property or goods are sold to the highest bidder.
2. Cards.
b. (in bridge or certain other games) the competitive bidding to fix a contract that a player or players undertake to fulfill.
v.t.
3. to sell by auction (often fol. by off): He auctioned off his furniture.
[1585-95; < L auction- (s. of auctio) an increase, esp. in the bidding at a sale, equiv. to auct(us) increased, ptp. of augere (aug- increase + -tus ptp. suffix) + -ion- -ION]

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Buying and selling of property through open public bidding.

Typically, potential purchasers make a succession of increasing bids or offers until the highest (and final) bid is accepted by the auctioneer. At a so-called Dutch auction, by contrast, the seller offers property at successively lower prices until one of his offers is accepted or until the price drops so low as to force the withdrawal of the offered property. Prospective buyers are usually allowed to examine auction items beforehand, and sellers may set a minimum price below which the property will not be sold. Auctions are important in the agricultural markets of many countries, permitting the rapid sale of perishable goods. Other items often sold at auction include artwork and antiques, secondhand goods, and farms and buildings repossessed by banks or the government. Auctions can be structured in many ways (e.g., bids submitted in person, via telephone, or over the Internet). Auction selling is also employed on stock and commodity exchanges.

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      the buying and selling of real and personal property through open public bidding. The traditional auction process involves a succession of increasing bids or offers by potential purchasers until the highest (and final) bid is accepted by the auctioneer (who is usually an agent of the seller). By contrast, in a so-called Dutch auction, the seller offers property at successively lower prices until one of his offers is accepted or until the price drops so low as to force the withdrawal of the offered property.

      In any auction prospective buyers are usually permitted to examine the items for sale beforehand. The inspection period enables buyers to evaluate various lots, determine comparative grades or qualities, and arrive at a reasonable price to offer at auction time. Before the auction itself, the seller can set a “reserve”—i.e., a minimum price below which the property will not be sold. If bidding fails to meet the reserve, the auctioneer may withdraw the property without accepting the highest bid.

      Auctions are an important part of selling operations in the agricultural markets of many countries, for they have traditionally provided a rapid and effective means of disposing of goods, especially perishable products. Aside from commodities and real estate, auctions historically served as a means for transferring ownership of slaves. There is evidence of slave auctions in the history of ancient Greece from as far back as the Homeric period. The practice persisted through the Roman Empire and into the early period of Christianity and was revived after the decline of serfdom in the late Middle Ages.

      Internet auctions, first introduced in 1995, have transformed the way many goods are sold. On Web sites such as eBay, rare or obscure items, as well as ordinary or mundane ones, are auctioned to bidders who may be located anywhere in the world. The number of competing bids displayed on the site indicates the level of demand for an item. Bidding in most online auctions ends at a scheduled time, with the auction winner being the one whose bid is highest at that time. In many cases the winning bid is placed only seconds before the bidding is closed. At the end of a successful auction, the buyer and seller communicate—usually by e-mail—to arrange for payment and delivery of the goods.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • auction — auc·tion n: a public sale of property to the highest bidder see also reserve Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. auction …   Law dictionary

  • auction — [ôk′shən] n. [L auctio, an increasing, sale by increase of bids < auctus, pp. of augere, to increase: see WAX2] 1. a public sale at which items are sold one by one, each going to the last and highest of a series of competing bidders 2. AUCTION …   English World dictionary

  • Auction — Auc tion, n. [L. auctio an increasing, a public sale, where the price was called out, and the article to be sold was adjudged to the last increaser of the price, or the highest bidder, fr. L. augere, auctum, to increase. See {Augment}.] 1. A… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • auction — (n.) a sale by increase of bids, 1590s, from L. auctionem (nom. auctio) an increasing sale, auction, public sale, noun of action from pp. stem of augere to increase, from PIE root *aug to increase (see AUGMENT (Cf. augment)). In northern England… …   Etymology dictionary

  • auction — ► NOUN ▪ a public sale in which goods or property are sold to the highest bidder. ► VERB ▪ sell at an auction. ORIGIN Latin, increase, auction , from augere to increase …   English terms dictionary

  • Auction — Auc tion, v. t. To sell by auction. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Auctĭon — (v. lat.), die öffentliche Versteigerung verkäuflicher Dinge; eine schon den Römern bekannte Art, Sachen in Geld umzusetzen. Sie ward bekannt gemacht durch einen Ausrufer (Praeco) od. einen schriftlichen Anschlag (Libellusauctionarius,… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Auction — Auction, Versteigerung, Gant, der öffentliche Verkauf an den Meistbietenden; auctionis lege, durch öffentliche Versteigerung; auctioniren, versteigern; Auctionator, wer die Versteigerung besorgt, überall obrigkeitlich verpflichtete Personen …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • auction — [n] competitive sale; sale by bid bargain, jam*, sell off; concepts 324,345 …   New thesaurus

  • Auction — Auctioneer redirects here. For the DC Comics supervillain, see Auctioneer (comics). An auctioneer and her assistants scan the crowd for bidders. An auction is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking… …   Wikipedia

  • auction — A common method of issuing gilts. Similar to a tender offer. In an auction, investors apply to buy the new gilts being issued, specifying the amount they wish to purchase and the price they are prepared to pay. The new gilts will be issued to… …   Financial and business terms


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