Aver Details

To 'aver' is to state a claim with the confidence that it is a fact. Similarly, an 'averment' is an allegation containing a claim that the speaker believes to be true. In a court of law, 'averring' is more often done as part of a plea than as part of argumentative or inferred statements. Moreover, 'avers' are used more frequently in civil than criminal proceedings and are sometimes, but not always, verified by evidence.

The word 'aver' stems from the Middle English term 'averrn', which translates to the act of declaring something as true in court under oath. 'Avérer' from Old French translates to the act of revealing, uncovering, and proving, while the Late Latin term 'advērāre' means to make true, to prove to be true or to verify.

Other terms closely related to 'aver' in the legal sense include 'pleading,' 'Alford plea,' and 'demurrer'. A pleading is a formal document wherein both plaintiff and defendant aver their complaint and answer, respectively. Conversely, an Alford plea is a statement made by a defendant wherein they aver innocence while admitting to the prosecution's evidence, likely resulting in a guilty verdict if brought to trial. A demurrer, meanwhile, is a formal objection to an averment – acknowledging that, though the averment may be true, its point is irrelevant or invalid to the case at hand.

Example of Aver

If, for example, a defendant is being accused of theft by the prosecution, the defendant might aver to the court that he paid for the item he allegedly stole. The plaintiff, however, might also aver that they have no record of the defendant paying for the item.

Though it is possible both or one of the two is lying, it is also possible—especially in the case of averring—that both sides believe what they are saying to be true. In this example, perhaps the defendant lost his receipt, and the plaintiff's record-keeping software was accidentally wiped before they got the chance to check its records. Yet, for either side to believe so strongly that what they say is true, one if not both sides will likely have evidence to support their averring.

Significance of Aver

To choose the word 'aver' over other closely related terms like 'maintain,' 'affirm,' or 'declare' is to choose a loftier emphasis on the truth. For aver not only suggests positive or peremptory manner to its declaration but also is frequently used in a legal context where the truth is of utmost importance. Aver also boasts an extensive etymology, with its origins having roots in English, French, and Latin.

When used outside of court, aver stands out against the aforementioned synonyms due to its infrequent use in casual conversation. As such, when used in casual contexts, 'aver', 'avers', 'averment', and 'averred' can come across as mockingly serious or can denote a change toward more legitimately serious discussions. Similarly, lofty terms with an emphasis on statements of truth include 'avouch,' 'proclaim,' and 'asseverate'.