1. A long, narrow boat with a high prow and stern, used in the canals of Venice. A gondola is usually propelled by one or two oarsmen who stand facing the prow, or by poling. A gondola for passengers has a small open cabin amidships, for their protection against the sun or rain. A sumptuary law of Venice required that gondolas should be painted black, and they are customarily so painted now.

2. A flat-bottomed boat for freight.

3. A long platform car, either having no sides or with very low sides, used on railroads.

Origin: It, dim. Of gonda a gondola; cf. LL. Gandeia a kind of boat, Gr. A drinking vessel; said to be a Persian word; cf. F. Gondole gondola, cup.

(01 Mar 1998)

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