[gon-dl-uh or especially for 1, gon-doh-luh]
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  1. 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.
  2. a passenger compartment suspended beneath a balloon or airship.Compare car1(def 4).
  3. an enclosed cabin suspended from an overhead cable, used to transport passengers up and down a ski slope or over scenic or treacherous terrain.
  4. Also called gondola car. an open railroad freight car with low sides, for transporting bulk freight and manufactured goods.
  5. a truck whose bed or trailer is a hopper, as for transporting mixed cement.
  6. a freestanding structure for displaying merchandise in a retail establishment, as a supermarket.
  7. 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gondola

Historical Examples of gondola

British Dictionary definitions for gondola


  1. 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
  2. a flat-bottomed barge used on canals and rivers of the US as far west as the Mississippi
  3. US and Canadian a low open flat-bottomed railway goods wagon
  4. a set of island shelves in a self-service shop: used for displaying goods
  5. Canadian a broadcasting booth built close to the roof over an ice-hockey arena, used by commentators

Word Origin for gondola

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

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