How often, nowadays, one hears a question answered with “Absolutely!” when all the speaker really means is, “Yes.”

Absolutely means, without qualification or limit, fundamentally, to every extent, and in every degree. How many things that we might affirm are absolutely true?  I suggest, almost none.

People who say, “Absolutely,” when they mean, “Yes,” apparently want to add emphasis or intensity to their agreement with the proposition they’re affirming; but absolutely doesn’t mean “Emphatically so!” or “Very much so!”  It’s not merely an intensive version of yes.

Here is another example of word-inflation:  the use of a dramatic word where only a plain one is called for.  And absolutely will doubtless suffer the impact effect:  its commonplace sense as a mere affirmation will supplant its more useful and interesting sense.

As the man said,

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.