Posted by R. Berg on February 28, 2002

In Reply to: Vis-a-vis posted by Mike Painter on February 28, 2002

: I know that the expression "vis-a-vis" means face to face but can it be used in contrasting two ideas or situations?

Yes. It can be used to mean (figuratively) "standing over against." Definitions from the American Heritage Dict., 1976:
Noun -- "One of two persons or things opposite or corresponding to each other."
Adverb -- "Face to face."
Preposition -- "Compared with; in relation to."

An example of prepositional use, from the Oxford English Dict.: "What a figure would they make vis-a-vis his manly vivacity and dashing eloquence" (H. Walpole, 1755).