exhaustive, exhausting
Both words are derived from the verb exhaust, but relate to different meanings. Exhaustive relates to the meaning ‘use up the whole of’ (as in exhausting a supply) and means ‘thorough or comprehensive’:

• We have all read the Steering Committee's exhaustive report —D. Meiring, 1979

• Now, after exhaustive research covering more than 2,500 Premiership matches, it has been proved: referees are ‘homers’ —Times, 2006.

Exhausting relates to the meaning ‘to tire (a person)’ and means ‘extremely tiring’ or ‘draining of strength’:

• He's known as the studio's resident Romeo, with a social life and a string of girlfriends which must be exhausting rather than exhilarating —Leicester Chronicle, 1976.

Beware of using exhaustive when you mean exhausting: ☒

• All of this may have been down to tiredness after an exhaustive season in lifting the Heineken Cup in May —Mirror, 2006.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Exhaustive — Ex*haust ive, a. Serving or tending to exhaust; exhibiting all the facts or arguments; as, an exhaustive method. {Ex*haust ive*ly}, adv. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • exhaustive — index absolute (complete), complete (all embracing), comprehensive, definitive, detailed, full, gr …   Law dictionary

  • exhaustive — 1780s, from EXHAUST (Cf. exhaust) + IVE (Cf. ive). Related: Exhaustively; exhaustiveness …   Etymology dictionary

  • exhaustive — [adj] all inclusive, complete allembracing, all encompassing, all out, catholic, comprehensive, embracive, encyclopedic, extensive, far reaching, from A to Z*, full, full blown, full dress*, full scale, in depth, intensive, no stone unturned*,… …   New thesaurus

  • exhaustive — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ fully comprehensive. DERIVATIVES exhaustively adverb exhaustiveness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • exhaustive — [eg zôs′tiv, igzôs′tiv] adj. [ML exhaustivus] leaving nothing out; covering every possible detail; thorough exhaustively adv …   English World dictionary

  • exhaustive — ● exhaustif, exhaustive adjectif (anglais exhaustive, de to exhaust, épuiser) Qui épuise un sujet, une matière : Liste exhaustive. ● exhaustif, exhaustive (difficultés) adjectif (anglais exhaustive, de to exhaust, épuiser) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • exhaustive — adj. VERBS ▪ be ADVERB ▪ by no means, hardly, not necessarily (esp. BrE) ▪ This list is by no means exhaustive. ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • exhaustive — [[t]ɪgzɔ͟ːstɪv[/t]] ADJ GRADED If you describe a study, search, or list as exhaustive, you mean that it is very thorough and complete. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it gives an indication of the many projects taking place... The… …   English dictionary

  • exhaustive — exhaustively, adv. exhaustiveness, n. /ig zaws tiv/, adj. 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,… …   Universalium

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