American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Greek Mythology Of or relating to Sisyphus.
- adj. Endlessly laborious or futile: "Their patients' lack of education and the high cost of medicine make health care a Sisyphean task” ( Frank Gibney, Jr.)
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Relating or pertaining to Sisyphus, in Greek mythology, a king of Corinth, whose punishment in Tartarus for his crimes consisted in rolling a huge stone to the top of a hill, whence it constantly rolled down again, thus rendering his labor incessant; hence, recurring unceasingly: as, to engage in a Sisyphean task.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Relating to Sisyphus; incessantly recurring.
- adj. both extremely effortful and futile
- adj. of or relating to Sisyphus
- From Sisyphus, from Ancient Greek Σίσυφος (Sisuphos). Sisyphus was a Greek mythological figure who was doomed to endlessly roll a boulder up a hill in Hades. (Wiktionary)
- From Latin Sisyphēius, from Greek Sisupheios, from Sisuphos, Sisyphus. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Today, the word Sisyphean is used to describe a labor without goal, purpose, or reward.”
“Editorial Anonymous: On the Effort Meter, This Manuscript Is Reading 'Sisyphean”
“On the Effort Meter, This Manuscript Is Reading 'Sisyphean”
“Substituting Herculean for Sisyphean will result in the correct Grecian adjective.”
“No, it would be a Sisyphean task only if the bricks reassembled themselves into the shape of a garage after they were taken down ….”
“After many years of this Sisyphean activity, I was accostedlast month (in my post-Christmas clear out mode) in the Princess Alice Hospice shop in Kingston, when dropping off a bag of (what I thought to be) a rather saleable suit, some books, a pair of shoes and some outgrown children's cardigans.”
“The man had been expecting the boy to hand him a thick stack of papers, jabbed through carelessly by a staple whose binding powers were far exceeded, a staple that hung on for dear life knowing it either must continue to perform the Sisyphean task or forever be lost in the messy tangles of carpet hair.”
“It is Sisyphean, I tell you, the work of managing a household while tending to two very small children and a tidiness-challenged husband.”
“But however hard we tried to refocus on a thrilling finale between two Aussies and a South African we knew Rory was still out there, trapped in his Sisyphean torture.”
“It also helps that women feel the candidates we support understand our choices and dilemmas as we attempt to tackle the Sisyphean task of being a working parent in a rough and scary economy.”
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