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.
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd