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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Gondola \Gon"do*la\, n. [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.] [1913 Webster] 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. [1913 Webster] 2. A flat-bottomed boat for freight. [U. S.] [1913 Webster] 3. A long platform car, either having no sides or with very low sides, used on railroads. [U. S.] [1913 Webster] 4. (A["e]ronautics) An elongated car under a dirigible. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]