producing or tending to produce fatigue, weariness, or the like: an exhausting day; an exhausting child.

Origin of exhausting

First recorded in 1530–40; exhaust + -ing2
Related formsex·haust·ing·ly, adverb



verb (used with object)

to drain of strength or energy, wear out, or fatigue greatly, as a person: I have exhausted myself working.
to use up or consume completely; expend the whole of: He exhausted a fortune in stock-market speculation.
to draw out all that is essential in (a subject, topic, etc.); treat or study thoroughly.
to empty by drawing out the contents: to exhaust a tank of fuel oil.
to create a vacuum in.
to draw out or drain off completely.
to deprive wholly of useful or essential properties, possessions, resources, etc.
Chemistry, Pharmacology. to deprive of ingredients by the use of solvents, as a drug.
to destroy the fertility of (soil), as by intensive cultivation.

verb (used without object)

to pass out or escape, as spent steam from the cylinder of an engine.

noun Machinery.

the escape of steam or gases from the cylinder of an engine.
the steam or gases ejected.
Also called exhaust system. the parts of an engine through which the exhaust is ejected.

Origin of exhaust

1515–25; 1895–1900 for def 11; < Latin exhaustus emptied out, drained out, past participle of exhaurīre
Related formsex·haust·er, nounex·haust·i·ble, adjectiveex·haust·i·bil·i·ty, nounmul·ti·ex·haust, nounnon·ex·haust·ed, adjectivenon·ex·haust·i·ble, adjectivepre·ex·haust, verb (used with object)un·ex·haust·ed, adjectiveun·ex·haust·ed·ly, adverb

Synonyms for exhaust

Antonyms for exhaust

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for exhausting

Contemporary Examples of exhausting

Historical Examples of exhausting

  • He cannot imagine a more salutary mode of exhausting his force.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • All the same, he must be an exhausting man for a daughter to live with; and a daughter who adored him.

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • There are few things so exhausting as the quiet of the country.

  • They talk glibly of exhausting them as though their own resources were inexhaustible.

    England and Germany

    Emile Joseph Dillon

  • We were exhausting ourselves by this sort of imbecile wrestling.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

British Dictionary definitions for exhausting


verb (mainly tr)

to drain the energy of; tire outto exhaust someone by constant questioning
to deprive of resources, etca nation exhausted by war
to deplete totally; expend; consumeto exhaust food supplies
to empty (a container) by drawing off or pumping out (the contents)
to develop or discuss thoroughly so that no further interest remainsto exhaust a topic of conversation
to remove gas from (a vessel, etc) in order to reduce the pressure or create a vacuum; evacuate
to remove or use up the active ingredients from (a drug, solution, etc)
to destroy the fertility of (soil) by excessive cultivation
(intr) (of steam or other gases) to be emitted or to escape from an engine after being expanded


gases ejected from an engine as waste products
  1. the expulsion of expanded gas or steam from an engine
  2. (as modifier)exhaust stroke
  1. the parts of an engine through which the exhausted gases or steam pass
  2. (as modifier)exhaust valve; exhaust pipe
Derived Formsexhausted, adjectiveexhauster, nounexhaustible, adjectiveexhaustibility, nounexhausting, adjective

Word Origin for exhaust

C16: from Latin exhaustus made empty, from exhaurīre to draw out, from haurīre to draw, drain
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

Word Origin and History for exhausting



1530s, "to draw off or out, to use up completely," from Latin exhaustus, past participle of exhaurire "draw off, take away, use up," from ex- "off" (see ex-) + haurire "to draw up" (as water), from PIE *aus- "to draw water." Of resources, etc., from 1630s. Related: Exhausted; exhausting.



"waste gas," 1848, originally from steam engines, from exhaust (v.). In reference to internal combustion engines by 1896.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper