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1. To choose something very carefully to ensure that the best option is chosen, perhaps through means that provide one an unfair advantage or from a selection that others do not have ready access to. I can't believe he left the company and then cherry-picked the best employee in my department! Yes, you will get to cherry-pick all the equipment that goes into your studio.
2. slang In sports such as basketball and soccer (football), to position oneself away from the current play on one's opponent's defensive end for an opportunity to receive the ball and score an easy basket or goal. We might not have gotten scored on if you had actually been playing defense instead of cherry-picking!

cherry-pick something

Fig. to choose something very carefully. (As if one were closely examining cherries on the tree, looking for the best.) We have to cherry-pick the lumber we want to use for the cabinetry. Nothing but the best will do.

cherry-pick somebody/something

to choose only the best people or things in a way that is not fair (usually in continuous tenses) Isn't there a danger that the state schools might start cherry-picking the pupils with the best exam results?
References in periodicals archive ?
The principle of the trial consisted of applying the cherry-picking technique in conjunction with an increased arrival rate of 46 flights per hour.
By cherry-picking his dictionaries and definitions, [Assistant Attorney
David Mills, chief executive of the Post Office, said: 'Many consumers are not aware of the cherry-picking undertaken by insurance companies to provide the cheapest rates possible.
In short, Conniff's statistical cherry-picking has given us a spin that Karl Rove might envy.
26 /PRNewswire/ -- Legislation introduced Tuesday in the Michigan House shows continuing strong support across the state for small business health insurance market reform that will help stabilize the marketplace and prevent the practice of cherry-picking, said Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Pharma companies are cherry-picking the best product and company opportunities at an earlier and earlier stage of development.
MARK McGHEE reckons he can rebuild Aberdeen on the cheap this summer by cherry-picking the casualties of the cash crisis gripping Scottish football.
In any other business, in any other place, this would be called cherry-picking based on racial favouritism (racism), certainly not creative excellence.
ILLEGAL: CCTV footage of city taxi drivers cherry-picking customers
Or to be kinder, call it cherry-picking -- statistical fudging to push a falsity.
The moves are part of a wider crackdown on cherry-picking.
The cherry-picking group was particularly interesting to Hoch and Fox, in large part because of what marketers have generally assumed about these types of buyers.
3 million from his cherry-picking scheme while his clients lost more than $56 million.
RITA RIBEIRO Perolas Aos Povos (Putumayo): From the north of Brazil, Rita is a singer but not a song-writer, instead cherry-picking the tunes of others, including Jorge Ben and Chico Cesar.