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Gold·​i·​locks ˈgōl-dē-ˌläks How to pronounce Goldilocks (audio)
plural Goldilocks
: a person with golden hair
used as a nickname
"How well Queenie looks in that soft light!" "Dear little Goldilocks looks well everywhere." And with a backward glance full of pride and fondness, Mrs Jo went on.Louisa May Alcott
goldilocks or less commonly goldylocks
: a European composite herb (Galatella linosyris) with heads of yellow flowers resembling those of goldenrod
: any of several shrubby southern African composite plants (genus Chrysocoma) that have bright yellow flower heads
: a European buttercup (Ranunculus auricomus)


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: having or producing an optimal balance usually between two extremes
While Davis is willing to buy into companies that are cutting dividends, his real focus is Goldilocks stocks, whose yields are neither too high nor too low.David K. Randall
At the right time he lay on his surfboard looking over his shoulder searching for what he calls a "Goldilocks wave," one that is just right.Paul Doherty et al.
In order to succeed, humanitarian efforts require a "Goldilocks" solution—just the right mix of force and charity, sympathy and structure, blind will and determined follow-up.Wilfred M. McClay
specifically, astronomy : lying in or being an area of planetary orbit in which temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold to support life
The planet is smack in the middle of what astronomers call the Goldilocks zone, that hard-to-find place that's not too hot, not too cold, where water, which is essential for life, doesn't freeze or boil. The Recorder (Greenfield, Massachusetts)
… with nearly 500 exoplanets under their belts, astronomers still haven't found an Earth-size planet in a star's habitable zone—also known as the Goldilocks region, where things are not too hot, not too cold, but just right for life. Michael D. Lemonick
To qualify as "Earthlike," a planet must not only fall within a reasonable approximation of Earth's composition, mass, gravity, and spin. It must also be located in what astronomers have dubbed the "Goldilocks orbit." William Harwood
Not all stars of course, are likely to have planets, especially what researchers call "Goldilocks" planets—not too hot and not too cold for life. And not all life is likely to be intelligent. Mike Toner

Examples of Goldilocks in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
These boxers from Fruit of the Loom really are the Goldilocks of underwear – not too tight, not too loose, just right. Courtney Leiva, Peoplemag, 8 Sep. 2023 Finding the right glass is a little like Goldilocks finding her just-right bed. Quincy Bulin, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 Sep. 2023 This prejudice often comes in the form of belittling comments, lack of recognition, and a Goldilocks situation in which female employees are either too young or too old for certain roles and promotions. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 30 Aug. 2023 Summer, winter, and spring are about dressing to accommodate the respective extremes of heat, cold, and rain; autumn, on the other hand, with its mild temperatures, is the Goldilocks season: just right. Max Berlinger, Robb Report, 19 Aug. 2023 This middle-ground aspect is why some astronomers refer to it as the Goldilocks zone. Phil Plait, Scientific American, 6 July 2023 Life for a woman should not be a continual replay of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Barbara Bry, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 July 2023 Finding the right routine for your curls can bring out the Goldilocks in the best of us. Sophie Dodd, Peoplemag, 22 July 2023 The resulting model is a length that will appeal to the Goldilocks of seafarers. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 18 July 2023
SARS‑CoV‑2 is something of an anti-Goldilocks virus: just bad enough in every way. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 3 Aug. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Goldilocks.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



goldy "golden in color" (Middle English, from gold gold entry 1 + -y -y entry 1) + locks, plural of lock entry 1; in plant names as translation of Chrysocoma, genus name, and auricomus, specific epithet


from the character Goldilocks in the fairy tale "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," who chooses Baby Bear's chair, porridge, and bed (over Papa and Mama Bear's) because it is "just right"

First Known Use


1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1949, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Goldilocks was in 1549

Dictionary Entries Near Goldilocks

Cite this Entry

“Goldilocks.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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