It is common in legal writing to aver, meaning to allege, assert, or affirm a fact. (Latin root is adver.)

But I can't find any evidence that the obvious noun form of the word, aversion, has ever been used as such. Instead, aversion has always and only been the noun form of avert, derivative of the Latin root avers (meaning something like to turn away).

I.e., it seems like the avert verb root blocked the noun form aversion from being used with the aver verb. Is this correct? If so, is there a term for this sort of conflict and deconfliction in English (or in linguistics more generally)?

The noun form is

averment

  • (Law) A formal statement by a party in a case of a fact or circumstance which the party offers to prove or substantiate.

(ODO)

Origin of averment:

1400–50; late Middle English averrement < Middle French. See aver, -ment.

-ment suffix usage origin:

suffix forming nouns, originally from French and representing Latin -mentum, which was added to verb stems sometimes to represent the result or product of the action.

  • Is it etymologically obvious why -ment is the appropriate noun form, and not -ion? – feetwet Nov 15 at 20:01
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    @feetwet - the term, together with the suffix, is from French. – user240918 Nov 15 at 20:08
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    @feetwet: Aver doesn’t fit in any of the patterns of other words that form nouns with -ion. E.g. the closest comparisons one might think of, conversion, aversion, and reversion, come from convert, avert, revert respectively, and aver doesn’t end analogously to these. Digging back, this is there’s a range of Latin root verbs that form -tion and -sion nouns, and aver doesn’t come from one of these roots (although it does come from Old French/Latin). – PLL Nov 16 at 9:17

There are two noun forms. The everyday one is averral, meaning an act of averring; but there is also averment, which has more of a legalistic flavour, as described in user240918's answer.

Edited to add: It seems from the comments that I am wrong about averral, at least as far as all the dictionaries in the world are concerned. I shall just have to stop using it, I suppose.

By the way, aversion is by no means the obvious noun form of aver. For example, from infer we get inference; from deter we get deterrence; from confer we get conferral or conferment. If you tried to use infersion, detersion or confersion, nobody would even know what you were trying to say!

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    averral is non-standard. – Kris Nov 16 at 9:53
  • @Kris: For me, it's averment that's non-standard. But I must admit that Google Ngrams agrees with you! – TonyK Nov 16 at 11:23
  • Averral appears to be a rare term, and unlike averment, is not present in more common dictionaries. google.it/… – user240918 Nov 16 at 13:34
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    @TonyK - Merriam Webster and Oxford Dictionaries online disagree. Both have averment, neither has averral (the latter redirects this, though, so they're aware of it). – T.J. Crowder Nov 16 at 13:38
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    @JanusBahsJacquet I thought about that, and it's certainly a logical parallel (at least at first glance; I don't know about the Latin roots). I just have the sense of having actually used/heard averral more often, probably in law school or other legal settings, but the corpora and my legal dictionaries don't bear that out and I think I'd be more likely to conflate avowal and averral since they're more semantically similar. FWIW, I don't get any "tingle of familiarity" for averence ;-). – 1006a Nov 16 at 17:20

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