1. exhausting a subject, topic, etc.; comprehensive; thorough: He published an exhaustive study of Greek vases.
  2. 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. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for non-exhaustive


  1. comprehensive in scope; thoroughan exhaustive survey
  2. 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 non-exhaustive



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper