V213: Extant vs. Extent – What’s the Difference?

“I’m an extant gown with a skirt of great extent”

In the historical costuming world, we talk and write a lot about original garments.  It’s important to get the right terminology when referring to periods of dress, or parts of garments.  One of the most common terms, but also one of the most common terminology mistakes, is the word “extant.”  “Extant, extent, what’s the difference?”

A big one…

1. in existence; still existing; not destroyed or lost
2. Archaic. standing out; protruding.

1. the space or degree to which a thing extends; length, area, volume, or scope.
2. something extended, as a space; a particular length, area, or volume; something having extension.

These definitions come from Dictionary.com, which also has a handy audio pronunciation to listen to.

So now you know! Don’t get caught using the wrong words!


  • Vienna La Rouge

    August 1, 2012 at 4:50 AM

    HA, Whew! I totally went back to my last blog post to double check that I didn't have a total brain freeze and misspell it ;-D

  • Time Traveling in Costume

    August 1, 2012 at 5:09 AM

    And that is the extent of my knowledge. 🙂
    I still have people wondering what i'm talking about when I say it's an extant gown. But now I have a definition of the difference of the two if someone asks.


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