noun, plural gold·i·locks.

(used with a singular verb) a person with golden hair.


(usually initial capital letter) not being extreme or not varying drastically between extremes, especially between hot and cold: a Goldilocks economy that is neither overheated nor too cold to cause a recession; a goldilocks planet such as Earth.See also Goldilocks zone.

Origin of goldilocks

1540–50; obsolete goldy golden + lock2 + -s3; from the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears, in which the golden-haired Goldilocks rejects uncomfortable extremes, as porridge that is too hot or too cold Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for goldilocks


noun (functioning as singular)

a Eurasian plant, Aster linosyris (or Linosyris vulgaris), with clusters of small yellow flowers: family Asteraceae (composites)
a Eurasian ranunculaceous woodland plant, Ranunculus auricomus, with yellow flowersSee also buttercup
(sometimes capital) a person, esp a girl, with light blond hair
(modifier; sometimes capital) not prone to extremes of temperature, volatility, etca goldilocks planet; a goldilocks economy

Word Origin for goldilocks

(for sense 4): C20: from the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears, in which the heroine prefers the porridge that is neither too hot nor too cold
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for goldilocks


name for a person with bright yellow hair, 1540s, from adj. form of gold + lock in the hair sense. The story of the Three Bears first was printed in Robert Southey's miscellany "The Doctor" (1837), but the central figure there was a bad-tempered old woman. Southey did not claim to have invented the story, and older versions have been traced, either involving an old woman or a "silver-haired" girl (though in at least one version it is a fox who enters the house). The identification of the girl as Goldilocks is attested only from c.1875.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper