absolutely defining

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Does "absolutely defining" mean "absolutely typical"? Of or relating to something that can define you is defining. So it may mean "absolutely deciding." Simply a guess.


GAZETTE: I wonder how being a professor has helped inform leadership for each of you?

FAUST: It was absolutely defining in that it gives you a perspective on the university from one of the most, if not the most, important elements of the university — the faculty.

-By Colleen Walsh Harvard Staff Writer

  • expos4ever

    English - Canada/USA
    While I am no authority, I find the phrase "absolutely defining" to be awkward and difficult to decode, and I would never use it myself. The problem I see is that the act of "defining" is, by its nature, not something that is achieved in degrees; therefore, to say one has "absolutely" defined something seems incoherent.

    Having said that, it appears (from the OP) that this phrase was used by someone no doubt more literate than me.

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Well, this is an oral interview, it would seem exactly transcribed. It probably isn't something that Faust would have written herself.

    It was defining. It defined the way I led. Absolutely is meant as an intensifier, I don't see that it could have been intended literally.


    Senior Member
    English (American)
    I find the expression quite normal here. Faust means that his style of university leadership has been defined (determined) by his experience as a professor.
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