Qua is used to mean 'in the role of'. A person will act in different ways in different situations, and this word is used when these differences matter.

Ed qua employee has a completely different personality than Ed qua football fan.

It comes from the Latin 'as' or 'who'. These days it's mostly used only in the social sciences, most particularly sociology.

Qua (?), conj. [L., abl. of qui who.]

In so far as; in the capacity or character of; as.

It is with Shelley's biographers qua biographers that we have to deal. London Spectator.

 

© Webster 1913.

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