sisyphus

Cultural Dictionary
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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