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Sisyphean

[sis-uh-fee-uh n]
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adjective
  1. of or relating to Sisyphus.
  2. endless and unavailing, as labor or a task.

Origin of Sisyphean

1625–35; < Greek Sīsýphe(ios) (Sī́syph(os) Sisyphus + -eios adj. suffix) + -an
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

  • 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


British Dictionary definitions for sisyphean

Sisyphean

adjective
  1. relating to Sisyphus
  2. 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

Word Origin and History for sisyphean

Sisyphean

adj.

"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