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What is the meaning of "absolutely-ed" in this sentence?

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Today, it's a very common, rather "California-ish" idiom. It's fantastic to see that it was used by Wodehouse in the early 1900s!! A great question. –  Joe Blow Jul 10 '11 at 19:16
    
@Joe, Thanks a lot! –  teenup Jul 12 '11 at 2:45

2 Answers 2

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The author is making use of the ability to make any part of speech into a verb. This is known as verbing (or verbification), and usually takes place with nouns. In this case, absolutely is used as an interjection; when an interjection is verbed, it usually refers to saying that interjection. Other examples of verbing:

Beer me. = Give me a beer.

Ow! You elbowed me! = Ow! You hit me with your elbow!

Friend me. = Add me as a friend. (On Facebook, &c.)

Therefore, absolutely-ed (or perhaps more properly, “absolutely”-ed) is the past tense of the verbed quotation “absolutely”, which means to say “absolutely”, and is derived from the interjection/adverb absolutely.

It's important to note that it's still very uncommon to verb words like absolutely or yes or hey. When quotations such as this are turned into verbs, it's most often in commentary on something a third party has just said:

Child: Mom! Mom!

Father: Honey, she's “Mom”-ing again.

On a more common note, there are countless verbs in English that come from nouns.

Wikipedia's article on verbing says:

Examples of verbification in the English language number in the thousands, including some of the most common words, such as mail and e-mail, strike, talk, salt, pepper, switch, bed, sleep, ship, train, stop, drink, cup, lure, mutter, dress, dizzy, divorce, fool, merge, and many more, to be found on virtually every page in the dictionary.

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@Joe Blow: Yes, that's what I was trying to convey. Edited to clarify. –  Jon Purdy Jul 10 '11 at 21:50
    
I love your edit exampling how you would probably put the word itself in quotes -- quite right! –  Joe Blow Jul 10 '11 at 21:51
    
Means I can say, this sentence is correct: "Why are you adulating me ?" ?. That should mean - "why are you needlessly admiring me ?". Am I correct ? –  teenup Jul 12 '11 at 3:17
    
@poorenglish: Well, yes, but adulate is already a verb of its own. –  Jon Purdy Jul 12 '11 at 3:25
    
Is "verbing" itself the very example of verbing? I mean the word "verb" is a noun, but after making it into a verb "-ing" is then suffixed to form a gerund "verbing" ... –  Lukman Jul 13 '11 at 17:15

It means he said the word "Absolutely!" and that he did that with real gusto.

("Heartily" means with feeling, loudly, from the heart.)

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This is not standard usage. The author is presumably putting it this way for comic effect. –  mgkrebbs Jul 10 '11 at 17:44
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Hmm, it's a common idiom, these days, @mgkr. You take a word and add "-ed" to make it a verb, meaning the person said that thing. (Rather similar to how you could use "laughed" or "snorted.") So, my daughter just humm-ed, my californian friend just Like-d, my aussie cousin just mateyed. –  Joe Blow Jul 10 '11 at 18:57

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