views updated Jun 27 2018

Goldilocks heroine of the children's story The Three Bears, in which she eats and sleeps in their house without leave, and chooses the possessions of the smallest bear as being neither too large nor too small for her, but ‘just right’; the essential story goes back to 1837, but the version in which Goldilocks is first named as the intruder is in John Hassall's Old Nursery Stories and Rhymes (c.1904).

Goldilocks is now used allusively to designate something regarded as falling in the centre of a range of possible values or conditions, rather than leaning to one extreme or the other.