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 formsex·haus·tive·ly, adverbex·haus·tive·ness, nounnon·ex·haus·tive, adjectivenon·ex·haus·tive·ly, adverbnon·ex·haus·tive·ness, nounun·ex·haus·tive, adjectiveun·ex·haus·tive·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for exhaustive

Contemporary Examples of exhaustive

Historical Examples of exhaustive

  • 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; thoroughan exhaustive survey
tending to exhaust
Derived Formsexhaustively, adverbexhaustiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for exhaustive

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper