Something that's draining tires you out, either physically or emotionally. Some people thrive on spending long days with young children, while others find it to be completely draining.

Running a marathon or a triathlon is physically draining — when you're done, you're exhausted. Having an argument with a family member can be just as draining in a different way, leaving you depleted and fatigued. The adjective draining uses the figurative "exhaust" meaning of the verb drain, which dates from the mid-1600s.

Definitions of draining

adj having a debilitating effect

impairing the strength and vitality

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.