• aver •
Pronunciation: ê-vêr • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: To affirm strongly, with conviction; to assert firmly as a hard, incontrovertible fact.
Notes: The only caution this word needs is a reminder of where the accent falls: always on the second syllable. If you need a noun for the action of averring, averment will do nicely. The noun average is wholly unrelated.
In Play: Anyone who makes a strong assertion is guilty of averment: "Lionel adamantly avers he knows nothing about the frog in the water cooler." The term is used especially widely in legal settings, where its meaning approaches that of allege: "Tess Tomoni averred that she witnessed the entire crime from her bedroom window."
Word History: English borrowed this word from Old French averer, a reduction of Vulgar (street) Latin adverare, comprising ad- "(up) to" + verus "true". The Proto-Indo-European root behind Latin verus came to Old English as wær "faith, pledge" but withered away long ago. Latin verus, on the other hand, was borrowed by English for very. The root was also borrowed in several other French and Latin words behind verify, verdict, the spoken truth, and voir dire, the examination of potential jurors under oath to determine their suitability. The Old French phrase comes from a phrase meaning "to tell (dire) the truth (voir)", the latter also a French reduction of Latin verus. (We aver that Mark Bailey is due a wave of gratitude from us all for having suggested today's Good Word.)