Definition of gondola in US English:



  • 1A light flat-bottomed boat used on Venetian canals, having a high point at each end and worked by one oar at the stern.

    • ‘She was bent over the bridge videoing a gondola as it floated down the canal.’
    • ‘A handsome young man, perhaps a year or two older than me, stood at the stern of an Italian gondola made of a rich, dark wood.’
    • ‘Of course, these podiums did not literally resemble the gondolas in the canals outside, except in very general terms - their sweeping curves and elevated tips.’
    • ‘The Venetians will be following the route used by gondolas chosen by Charles II to escort his Royal barge in 1662 from Hampton Court to Whitehall.’
    • ‘I've never been to Tuscany, haven't floated down a canal in a Venetian gondola, nor thrown a coin into the Trevi Fountain.’
    • ‘But, with the passing of years, gondolas on Windermere, Coniston, and Ullswater and steam trains to Lakeside have come to symbolize a bygone age of tranquillity.’
    • ‘He was a larger-than-life character who went on to build a replica of Venice - including a Grand Canal, with gondolas - inside his new hotel, the Venetian.’
    • ‘The Grand Canal adjoining the fountain, with gondolas and rowing boats afloat, was once the scene of many festivities and was called Petit-Venice (little Venice).’
    • ‘Then the streets become calmer and you really notice the gondolas because all the delivery boats have finished making their rounds.’
    • ‘Sightseers will be able to hire boats, resembling Venetian gondolas, to take trips on the canal.’
    • ‘Successive displays chronicle the Greek trireme, perhaps the ultimate statement of rowing power, the Venetian gondola, the Thames wherry, wooden-hulled lifeboats and arctic whaleboats.’
    • ‘And when the sun sets, the moon shimmers as you board one of the many gondolas and ride along the canals of the ancients.’
    • ‘On a warm night, in a gondola off the Grand Canal, he popped the question.’
    • ‘Instead of gondolas, there are magenta-coloured barges which transport tourists along a two-mile stretch of river, past the native cypresses and gaudy glass-fronted hotels.’
    • ‘Another of the pictures from the mantelpiece shows her during that period, sailing on a gondola down the canals of Venice.’
    • ‘The Victorian steam yacht was originally designed in the form of a Venetian gondola and was first launched in 1859 on Coniston Water.’
    • ‘We couldn't stay in northern Italy without a visit to Venice, that amazing city of canals, gondolas, bridges and churches.’
    • ‘Skipping around Covent Garden or taking a picnic in Hampstead, maybe even piloting a gondola down Regent's Canal!’
    • ‘Its streets have turned into canals in which dugout canoes take the place of elegant gondolas.’
    • ‘You have seen boats and gondolas floating in the lake.’
    1. 1.1 A cabin on a suspended ski lift.
      • ‘A ride up the gondola here will enable visitors to get a bird's eye view of the majestic Canadian Rockies mountain range.’
      • ‘Each village has its own chair lift or gondola starting from the town centre.’
      • ‘Located across the valley, you take a bus to the old-school Rendl gondola, which drops you on the complete opposite side of the mountain.’
      • ‘The hotel is about five minutes’ walk from the Eagle Bahn gondola.’
      • ‘The next day we venture to Livigno's highest runs on the Carosella 3000 gondola and plunge back down to earth.’
      • ‘In Europe you'll take a few lifts in a row and then a tram or gondola to get to the top of the mountain for a half hour run whereas most resorts that I've been to in the States are much shorter with one or two lifts to the summit.’
      • ‘The three areas have over two dozen ski lifts, mostly chairlifts and gondolas, serving a multitude of trails and runs from the valley floor to open slopes above treeline.’
      • ‘History fans will appreciate the vintage ski clothing and attire as well as some of the actual chairs and early gondolas and other devices used in the first ski lifts.’
      • ‘It started in a vague dream of getting off the ski-lift gondola at a mountain ski lodge, and stepping out on the metal grate.’
      • ‘For skiers, the hotel couldn't be more handy: It's a short stroll from the Telluride Ski & Golf Company's gondola and chair-lift.’
      • ‘Lift options include the new 12-person gondola which departs from the centre of Soldeu, and several chair-lifts that offer access to La Solana summit and the Riba Esorxada.’
      • ‘Mountain Village is connected to Telluride by a free, public gondola.’
      • ‘As well as riding the Cairngorm funicular and the Nevis Range gondola, visitors are being encouraged to pursue a widening variety of warm weather sports.’
      • ‘The gondola takes visitors on a twelve-minute ride up the mountain high above the lake.’
      • ‘Part of the fun is getting to the restaurants: by gondola, snowmobile, multipassenger snow cat, sleigh - even snowshoes or skis.’
      • ‘In addition to enjoying the experience itself, volunteers are allowed to ride the lifts and gondola at Grouse for the rest of the day after the lessons end at noon.’
      • ‘It is also established as the best place in the world to go mountain biking, largely because it has the longest vertical descent in North America, and because all the gondolas and ski lifts can also take bikes.’
      • ‘Hit the peaks by gondola or cable car and ride and slide to the bottom.’
      • ‘The skiing is immediate and world-class; one lift and one gondola terminate three blocks south of Colorado Avenue, which everyone calls Main.’
      • ‘At the base of Grouse Mountain I entered into another means of transportation: the Skyride, a 6 minute gondola/tram ride to the main complex at the top of the Mountain.’
    2. 1.2North American An open railroad freight car.
      • ‘Among items sold were box cars, flat cars and side-dump gondola cars.’
      • ‘Workers there build and repair different types of rail cars, including coal hoppers, gondolas, and cars that carry steel coils.’
      • ‘The common gondola car is a freight car with low sides and ends, a solid floor, and no roof.’
      • ‘The gondola sat at the loading dock with both of its doors open.’
      • ‘The TLC will handle lumber, steel, aluminum and food products, and is designed to load and unload all types of railcars from centerbeams to boxcars and gondolas.’
    3. 1.3 An enclosed compartment suspended from an airship or balloon.
      • ‘As they are clambering up the ropes hanging from the gondola, the balloon abruptly takes off again, leaving the men dangling.’
      • ‘In 1960, Air Force test pilot Joseph W. Kittinger Jr. stepped out of a balloon gondola at 102,800 feet and set the record for the world's highest skydive.’
      • ‘Thus the total weight of the balloon, the air inside, the gondola, the fuel tanks (needed to heat the air inside the balloon), and the passengers is less than the weight of the air the balloon displaces.’
      • ‘And there's a gondola which is suspended from the crane, and I'm going to be getting in there.’
      • ‘They have built gondolas for airships, flight simulators and floating offices, but Jim's boat posed a real challenge.’


Mid 16th century: from Venetian Italian, from Rhaeto-Romance gondolà ‘to rock, roll’.