a vaguely wolfish air that was barely offset by


Senior Member
This is en excerpt from Life after life by Kate Atkinson.

Ursula had been involved with Crighton – ‘the Man from the Admiralty’ – for a year now (she dated it from Munich). They had met at an inter-departmental meeting. He was fifteen years older than Ursula, rather dashing and with a vaguely wolfish air that was barely offset by his marriage to an industrious wife (Moira) and their clutch of three girls, all at a private school.

I don't understand the sentence highlighted in bold. Would you like to help me? Thank you.
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    A man with a wolfish air is predatory, usually in a sexual way.
    To offset something is to “set against” or reduce the cost of something, so it’s an unusual word to use for a personal characteristic.

    Basically this guy seems a bit “sexy” and the fact that he has a wife and kids scarcely reduces that impression. He obviously doesn’t seem like a family-man.
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