What does ‘gave her an academic air’ mean in the following sentence:
He opened the door without knocking, and there she was alone at her desk,
absorbed, serious, with the new eyeglasses that gave her an academic air.
The part “academic air” means resemblance to an academic (i.e. someone whose profession is related to higher learning).
You might wonder why the sentence uses the expression ” gave a (blank) air”. I think it comes from a common expression in French. In French, the expression “has the air of X” means “seems like X”.
So the part of the sentence”gave her an academic air” means “made her look like a professor”.