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Word of the Day
Friday, January 26, 2018

Definitions for Sisyphean

  1. endless and unavailing, as labor or a task.
  2. of or relating to Sisyphus.

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Citations for Sisyphean
Making himself useful as always, he took upon himself the Sisyphean task of keeping all those Modernist surfaces sparkling. Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex, 2002
We are shown two inmates toiling at senseless, Sisyphean labors, nursing each other's sores, commiserating and bickering with each other. John Simon, "Mad, Bad, Sad, and Glad," New York, December 16, 1974
Origin of Sisyphean
Many Greek proper names, e.g., Sisyphus, Ephyra, Corinth, and Athens, have no discernible etymology in Greek. In Greek mythology Sísyphos was king over Ephýra, the old name for Corinth (the port city on the southern shore of the Gulf of Corinth), about 50 miles west of Athens. The only mention of Sisyphus in the Iliad (book 6:154-55) is that he lived in Ephyra. In the Odyssey (book 11:593-600), Odysseus saw Sisyphus rolling his huge stone but gave no reason for Sisyphus’s punishment. Later writers state that Sisyphus had offended Zeus by telling the river god Asopus where Zeus had taken his (Asopus’s) daughter Aegina. Zeus had abducted Aegina, and Asopus was in vengeful pursuit against Zeus. Sisyphean entered English in the 17th century.