Definition of Sisyphean in US English:

Sisyphean

adjective

  • (of a task) such that it can never be completed.

    • ‘Governance reform takes on a Sisyphean quality in Canada: at one and the same time it is both a powerful compulsion and, apparently, a frustrating, if not impossible, task.’
    • ‘There is, of course, something Sisyphean about this.’
    • ‘Such a daunting task is a true Sisyphean labour!’
    • ‘It was a Sisyphean task of epic proportions that defied a normal life expectancy.’
    • ‘It's a Sisyphean task making today's complex software, with millions of lines of code, totally bug free.’
    • ‘I find this a laudable goal but often a Sisyphean task.’
    • ‘Of course, trying to correct an animal rights activist with erroneous information is a Sisyphean task.’
    • ‘It was a Sisyphean task - but Paul did not give in.’
    • ‘He strikes me as living in a quiet purgatory, working in a lonely, Sisyphean pursuit of redemption by calling for younger generations to step back from the conflicts we accept with resigned inevitability even as we oppose them in word.’
    • ‘My favorite scene features a dung beetle trying to roll a bit of dinner up a hill; a more Sisyphean struggle I haven't seen.’
    • ‘The first exercise machine, in fact, was designed as a particularly tedious form of Sisyphean punishment.’
    • ‘Happy lunchtime. I managed to book holidays, after what looked at first like a Sisyphean struggle.’
    • ‘The effort can seem Sisyphean, but it's effective.’
    • ‘Not only do they lose the game but they are sentenced to a Sisyphean task.’
    • ‘For some it's an afternoon's entertainment, falling off their board and hauling themselves up again with a kind of Sisyphean hopelessness.’
    • ‘For years, the music and film industries have fought a Sisyphean battle against piracy.’
    • ‘The job of encouraging better care of livestock is Sisyphean.’
    • ‘He's urging anyone who's listening to continue on toward their desires, no matter how Sisyphean the task may prove to be.’
    • ‘Yes, it's a difficult task, maybe even a Sisyphean one, but it's that challenge that ennobles what journalists do.’
    • ‘Jack considers Roberta to be the farthest gone of the group and suggests that her obsession has trapped her in a ‘hopeless Sisyphean life’.’
    futile, pointless, purposeless, impractical, vain, in vain, to no purpose, to no avail, unavailing, bootless, nugatory, hopeless, unusable, ineffectual, inefficacious, impotent, fruitless, unprofitable, profitless, unproductive, unachievable
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 16th century: from Latin Sisypheius (based on Greek Sisuphos: see Sisyphus)+ -an.

Pronunciation

Sisyphean

/ˌsisəˈfēən//ˌsɪsəˈfiən/