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8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary

gondola

[gon-dl-uh or especially for 1, gon-doh-luh] /ˈgɒn dl ə or especially for 1, gɒnˈdoʊ lə/
noun
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
1540-1550
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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for gondolas

gondola

/ˈɡɒndələ/
noun
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
2.
  1. a car or cabin suspended from an airship or balloon
  2. a moving cabin suspended from a cable across a valley, etc
3.
a flat-bottomed barge used on canals and rivers of the US as far west as the Mississippi
4.
(US & Canadian) a low open flat-bottomed railway goods wagon
5.
a set of island shelves in a self-service shop: used for displaying goods
6.
(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
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Word Origin and History for gondolas

gondola

n.

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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