1. endless and unavailing, as labor or a task.
2. of or pertaining to Sisyphus.
Alongside the futile Sisyphean trials of his fellow men, the song of suicide could only beckon. But again, he said no.
-- Claire Messud, The Last Life, 2000
Making himself useful as always, he took upon himself the Sisyphean task of keeping all those Modernist surfaces sparkling.
-- Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex, 2002
Sisyphean comes from a Greek myth about the King of Corinth named Sisyphus, who was condemned to eternally roll a stone up a hill. The extension to any laborious, eternal task has been used since the word entered English in the early 1600s.
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