ex·​haus·​tive ig-ˈzȯ-stiv How to pronounce exhaustive (audio)
: including all possibilities : thorough
conducted an exhaustive search
exhaustively adverb
exhaustiveness noun
exhaustivity noun

Example Sentences

The list was long but not exhaustive. after an exhaustive search of our house, we still hadn't found the cat
Recent Examples on the Web This list is not exhaustive and only includes those who have donated north of $1 billion. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, 25 Dec. 2022 The recommendations put forth by the Jan. 6 committee were not exhaustive. Eric Cortellessa, Time, 24 Dec. 2022 The questions above are certainly not exhaustive, but should form part of the honest and open discussions between both parties to help you to feel confident about taking the next steps towards becoming a franchise business owner. Fiona Simpson, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2022 No suspects or persons of interest have been named, and there’s no evidence to suggest Quinton didn’t walk off, although exhaustive searches of a geographic area within wandering distance have turned up nothing, police said. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 9 Oct. 2022 After an exhaustive digital restoration process by the Korean Film Archive, Nakdong River was screened for the public for the first time in seven decades last Thursday at Busan International Film Festival. Soomee Park, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Oct. 2022 On September 2, Deadline broke the news that, following an exhaustive casting process, The Crown had cast the roles of Prince William and Kate Middleton for Season 6. Amel Mukhtar, Vogue, 2 Sep. 2022 Choosing the color alone for the first US car involved an exhaustive process. Basem Wasef, Robb Report, 24 Aug. 2022 The real estate website found that half of U.S. homebuyers cry at least once during the exhaustive process. Terry Collins, USA TODAY, 8 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exhaustive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1789, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of exhaustive was circa 1789

Dictionary Entries Near exhaustive

Cite this Entry

“Exhaustive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exhaustive. Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


ex·​haus·​tive ig-ˈzȯ-stiv How to pronounce exhaustive (audio)
: trying all possibilities : thorough
an exhaustive search
exhaustively adverb
exhaustiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on exhaustive

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?