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[sis-uh-fee-uh n] /ˌsɪs əˈfi ən/
of or relating to Sisyphus.
endless and unavailing, as labor or a task.
Origin of Sisyphean
1625-35; < Greek Sīsýphe(ios) (Sī́syph(os) Sisyphus + -eios adj. suffix) + -an Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Sisyphean
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It seemed a Sisyphean task, no sooner ended than a new one was exacted.

  • Exhausted by her Sisyphean task, distrustful of this new and unfamiliar method, the Osmia resigns herself and expires in her cell.

    Bramble-bees and Others J. Henri Fabre
  • It was a Sisyphean task, and poor Emile had spent much sweat and not a little blood in his efforts.

    Labrador Days Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
  • One evening I found him in his chambers engaged upon his Sisyphean labour of “tidying up.”

  • I was pleased, therefore, to be freed from the Sisyphean labors of the editorial office.

    Recollections of a Varied Life George Cary Eggleston
  • Is the Sisyphean stone of Home Rule, so laboriously rolled uphill, to again roll down, crushing in its fall the faithful rollers?

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
British Dictionary definitions for Sisyphean


relating to Sisyphus
actually or seemingly endless and futile
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
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Word Origin and History for Sisyphean

"pertaining to or resembling the unceasingly recurring and fruitless labors of Sisyphus," 1630s, from Sisyphus + -an. Earlier Sisyphian (1590s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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