In legal contexts, an averment is a formal statement to prove a fact. Even outside law (though it is used less commonly), it means "allegation". But where does the word come from? It was borrowed in the fourteenth century from the Old French word averer, meaning "to confirm" or "prove" (this would occasionally take the form of aveir or avoir). Averer comes from the Latin verb habere, meaning "to have" (or "hold", or "regard". A very important word overall). Through Proto-Italic habeo or haseo, this may be reconstructed back to Proto-Indo-European gehb, meaning "to grab". So, that's a rather "gripping" etymology of a word for a legal assertion. Pardon the pun. One interesting side note I might make here: habere had a huge etymological impact, being an element in the creation of the terms malady, inhabit, havoc, exhibition, duty, endeavour, debt, prohibition, habeus corpus, able, and avoirdupois, among many, many others. A ubiquitous word indeed.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy philosophy, trivia, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.