I need to describe to a colleague in writing that a certain task, while possible, requires a lot of manual repetitive work.

I was hoping for a word to describe it but couldn't find anything that fits.

In Israel we commonly use the word סיזיפי which is borrowed from Greek Mythology (the story of Sisyphus). It is well-known and well-used to describe a task that is repetitive and tiring.

Does the English language have a word that I can use with the same meaning?

Example sentence: "This is a ____ task which requires a lot of time and repetitive work. We should consider automating it."

  • @JasonBassford I don't have the actual copy that was sent (was asking for a person at work). I added a sample sentence. May 8, 2019 at 16:59
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    Reut, did you look up the word you've already used (repetitive) in a thesaurus? If none of the synonyms suited, please edit your question to spell out which words you've rejected (and why), so that we can be clearer about the particular nuance you're after. BTW, we actually do have an English adjective from that Greek myth: Sisyphean; however, we would tend to use this for tasks that are not only repetitive but also to some degree punishing, endless or impossible to complete. :-) May 9, 2019 at 2:45
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    Sisyphean is not a commonly-used word!
    – Dan
    May 9, 2019 at 14:14

3 Answers 3


The word sisyphean is used in English as well. The word is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as

Denoting a task that can never be completed.

But I feel the word mindless might capture your intention better:

1.1 (of an activity) so simple or repetitive as to be performed automatically.
// ‘the monotony of housework turns it into a mindless task’

(source: Oxford Dictionaries)

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    I know the word exists, I just never heard anyone use it, so I assumed its unused. In Israel its used quite often. I will use mindless, thanks :) May 8, 2019 at 7:18
  • You'll lose 90% of your readers with this word. It's like mentioning 555's: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/555_timer_IC May 9, 2019 at 14:41

This drudgery requires a lot of time and repetitive work. We should consider automating it.


Mind-numbing, perhaps?

Relentless, tedious, tiresome, dull work is often automated.

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