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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
First recorded in 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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for exhaustive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was exhaustive and trenchant, and produced a great effect.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • This conclusion he had arrived at only after most exhaustive study.

    Johnny Bear E. T. Seton
  • I do not pretend to give you an exhaustive catalogue of such.

  • After exhaustive investigation (zero data) he still wondered.

    Zero Data Charles Saphro
  • The most complete and exhaustive volume of the kind with which we are acquainted.

    Aztec Land Maturin M. Ballou
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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