Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    A public sale to the highest bidder. See 131 Am. St. Rep. 479.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    A public sale of land or goods, at public outcry, to the highest bidder. Russell v. Miner, 61 Barb. (N. Y.) 539; Hibler v. Hoag, 1 Watts & S. (Pa.) 553; Crandali v. Sinte, 28 Ohio St 481. A sale by auction is a sale by public outcry to the highest bidder on the spot. Civ. Code Cal. § 1792; Civ. Code Dak. § 1022. The sale by auction is that which takes place when the thing is offered publicly to be sold to whoever will give the highest price. Civ. Code La. art. 2601. Auction is very generally defined as a sale to the highest bidder, and this is the usual meaning. There may, however, be a sale to the lowest bidder, as where land is sold for non-payment of taxes to whomsoever will take it for the shortest term; or where a contract is offered to the one who will perform it at the lowest price. And these appear fairly included in the term "auction." Abbott.
    —Dutch auction. A method of sale by auction which consists in the public offer of the property at a price beyond its value, and then gradually lowering the price until some one becomes the purchaser. Crandall v. State, 28 Ohio St. 482.
    —Public auction. A sale of property at auction, where any and nil persons who choose are permitted to attend and offer bids. Though this phrase is frequently used, it is doubtful whether the word "public" adds anything to the force of the expression, since "auction" itself imports publicity. If there can be such a thing as a private auction, it must be one where the property is sold to the highest bidder, but only certain persons, or a certnin class of persons, are permitted to be present or to offer bids.