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[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. 2015.
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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).

  • Most of the Sisyphus' crew, including the captain, want to take their wives along.

  • 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
  • Consulted the captain about a set of auxiliary sails for the Sisyphus.

  • 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
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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
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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.
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