Technical "Q" question for you experts

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Q is defined as the "ratio of reactance to resistance (series circuit) or resistance to reactance (parallel circuit). V. Dickason, p 23, LDCookbook, 6th edition.

I would greatly appreciate any light you can cast on this definition as it is somewhat cryptic to me. I have a basic understanding of electricity but I am new to audio. Thanks in advance for your time.
 
It may be not scientifically correct, but try to imagine Q as a value of effect of a certain filter etc.
For example in a crossover: A serial notch filter often has parallel resistor to adjust the effect of the filter. It does not change the slope of the filter which is determined by the parts and their value (here a coil and a cap), but "narrows" it or softens the effect of the filter.
 
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