Try Our Apps


The saddest words


[sis-uh-fuh s] /ˈsɪs ə fəs/
noun, Classical Mythology.
a son of Aeolus and ruler of Corinth, noted for his trickery: he was punished in Tartarus by being compelled to roll a stone to the top of a slope, the stone always escaping him near the top and rolling down again. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for Sisyphus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sisyphus, for his treachery to the gods, vainly rolled a stone toward the top of a hill (see 255).

  • The next two forms, Tantalus and Sisyphus, have also a kinship.

    Homer's Odyssey Denton J. Snider
  • Only when you reach your objective point do you come to a full realization that you have not been the Sisyphus of the Red Gods.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • Most of the Sisyphus' crew, including the captain, want to take their wives along.

  • It was Tantalus and Sisyphus rolled into one unsightly package and fastened to his soul.

    The Lani People J. F. Bone
British Dictionary definitions for Sisyphus


(Greek myth) a king of Corinth, punished in Hades for his misdeeds by eternally having to roll a heavy stone up a hill: every time he approached the top, the stone escaped his grasp and rolled to the bottom
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for Sisyphus

King of Corinth, famed as "the craftiest of men," he was condemned in the afterlife to roll uphill a stone which perpetually rolls down again; Greek Sisyphos, a name of unknown origin. Liddell and Scott suggest a reduplication of syphos "the crafty" (with Aeolic -u- for -o-), but Klein calls this folk-etymology.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Sisyphus in Culture
Sisyphus [(sis-uh-fuhs)]

A king in classical mythology who offended Zeus and was punished in Hades by being forced to roll an enormous boulder to the top of a steep hill. Every time the boulder neared the top, it would roll back down, and Sisyphus would have to start over.

Note: A difficult and futile endeavor may be called a “labor of Sisyphus” or a “Sisyphean task.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for Sisyphus

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for Sisyphus

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for sisyphus