a <Goldilocks> blow


Senior Member
What does Goldilocks mean in this context ?
Below the knot, the sock’s foot is loaded with ball bearings. Hodges swings it, connecting with Oliver Madden’s left temple. It’s a Goldilocks blow, not too hard, not too soft, just right.
Source: Finders Keepers by Stephen King

Could it be ' moderate and not extreme' ?

Thank you
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    If you're not familiar with The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, you should read it. Basically, she goes for a walk in the forest and comes upon a house lived in by three bears, who are not there at the moment – so she makes at home.

    There are three bowls of porridge, three chairs and three beds for the bears. She tests each one of these three sets of items and find one of the bowls/chairs/bed "just right." Meaning, just perfect.

    Anyone familiar with the story – and there are millions of us – will know the pattern of your quote. Have a look at the story – it's short.


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    This particular quote matches another use of the term: Earth is said to be in the "Goldilocks zone" of planets. It means that all the various conditions (gravity, air pressure, temperature, and others) are "just right" and therefore it can support plant and animal life. If any of these conditions were 25% higher/lower, life could not exist! By pure chance, things are "just right".

    In the story, Goldilocks tries different foods, different beds...in each case she finds one that is "just right".

    So in King's text, calling it a Goldilocks blow says that it is "just right", purely by chance rather than skill.


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Sorry, it's the only context where I've seen "Goldilocks" used. You are right, King wasn't referring to planetary stuff. He gives the definition of what he means by "Goldilocks" in the rest of the sentence (as #3 explains):

    It’s a Goldilocks blow, not too hard, not too soft, just right.
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