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[gon-dl-uh or especially for 1, gon-doh-luh] /ˈgɒn dl ə or especially for 1, gɒnˈdoʊ lə/
a long, narrow, flat-bottomed boat having a tall, ornamental stem and stern and sometimes a small cabin for passengers, rowed or poled by a single person who stands at the stern, facing forward: used especially on the canals of Venice, Italy.
a passenger compartment suspended beneath a balloon or airship.
Compare car1 (def 4).
an enclosed cabin suspended from an overhead cable, used to transport passengers up and down a ski slope or over scenic or treacherous terrain.
Also called gondola car. an open railroad freight car with low sides, for transporting bulk freight and manufactured goods.
a truck whose bed or trailer is a hopper, as for transporting mixed cement.
a freestanding structure for displaying merchandise in a retail establishment, as a supermarket.
a chair or couch having a gondola back.
Origin of gondola
1540-50; < Italian < Venetian, probably < Medieval Greek kontoúra small boat used in coastal navigation, noun use of feminine of kóntouros short, clipped, literally, dock-tailed, equivalent to Late Greek kont(ós), kond(ós) short + Greek -ouros -tailed, adj. derivative of ourá tail Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gondola
Historical Examples
  • You arrive at a large terminal station, and step into the gondola which is to take you into Venice.

    Venice Dorothy Menpes
  • She gave it with the prettiest gesture, leaning from her gondola to his as they parted.

    His Own People Booth Tarkington
  • Mr. Pinckney frowned, for no gondola was near, but after a few minutes up came two.

    The Four Corners Abroad Amy Ella Blanchard
  • He has an old tub of a gondola and he paddles about in it all day long and is content as the king.

    A Venetian June Anna Fuller
  • After having placed it upon the brink of the gondola, I tried to frighten it to make it take to flight.

    Wonderful Balloon Ascents Fulgence Marion
  • Si, Signore, benissimo; and yet he loves the gondola and the old life.

    A Venetian June Anna Fuller
  • Late in the afternoon, Francis embarked in his gondola, and in an hour and a half landed at Pelestrina.

  • They were just passing the Palazzo Darino, where a gondola lurked in the shadow.

    A Venetian June Anna Fuller
  • The Texan gave a great thrust with the oar, pushing the gondola away.

    Dick Merriwell Abroad Burt L. Standish
  • The other gondola had fallen back a few lengths, as was apt to be the case.

    A Venetian June Anna Fuller
British Dictionary definitions for gondola


a long narrow flat-bottomed boat with a high ornamented stem and a platform at the stern where an oarsman stands and propels the boat by sculling or punting: traditionally used on the canals of Venice
  1. a car or cabin suspended from an airship or balloon
  2. a moving cabin suspended from a cable across a valley, etc
a flat-bottomed barge used on canals and rivers of the US as far west as the Mississippi
(US & Canadian) a low open flat-bottomed railway goods wagon
a set of island shelves in a self-service shop: used for displaying goods
(Canadian) a broadcasting booth built close to the roof over an ice-hockey arena, used by commentators
Word Origin
C16: from Italian (Venetian dialect), from Medieval Latin gondula, perhaps ultimately from Greek kondu drinking vessel
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 gondola

1540s, from Italian (Venetian) gondola, earlier in English as goundel, from Old Italian gondula, of unknown origin; perhaps from Rhaeto-Romanic dialectal gondola "roll, rock," or perhaps a diminutive of gonda, name of a kind of boat. Meaning "cabin of an airship" is 1896, though it was used hypothetically in 1881 in a prediction piece titled "300 Years Hence":

You step into an aerial gondola ... and are at once borne upwards.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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