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[ig-zaws-tiv] /ɪgˈzɔs tɪv/
exhausting a subject, topic, etc.; comprehensive; thorough:
He published an exhaustive study of Greek vases.
tending to exhaust or drain, as resources or strength:
a protracted, exhaustive siege of illness.
Origin of exhaustive
1780-90; exhaust + -ive
Related forms
exhaustively, adverb
exhaustiveness, noun
nonexhaustive, adjective
nonexhaustively, adverb
nonexhaustiveness, noun
unexhaustive, adjective
unexhaustively, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for exhaustive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As the essay is not intended to be exhaustive, there should be judgment in the selection of points to be presented.

  • No exhaustive Canadian 'water history' can possibly be attempted here.

    All Afloat William Wood
  • There are exhaustive arguments, now on the one side and now on the other, which exactly balance one another.

    The Gentle Reader Samuel McChord Crothers
  • He assures us that he has obtained an 'exhaustive' list of 'simple pleasures.'

  • This list of high-voltage alternators is not intended to be exhaustive, but serves to indicate their wide application.

British Dictionary definitions for exhaustive


comprehensive in scope; thorough: an exhaustive survey
tending to exhaust
Derived Forms
exhaustively, adverb
exhaustiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for exhaustive

1780s, from exhaust + -ive. Related: Exhaustively; exhaustiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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