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. – Reut Sharabani May 8 '19 at 16:59
  • 2
    A common word used for this (US, SE Region): In a factory, monotonous tasks are rotated or given to workers who prefer and excel at them. – KannE May 8 '19 at 17:37
  • 1
    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. :-) – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica May 9 '19 at 2:45
  • 1
    Sisyphean is not a commonly-used word! – Dan May 9 '19 at 14:14

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)

  • 1
    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 :) – Reut Sharabani May 8 '19 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 – Wayfaring Stranger May 9 '19 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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.