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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 ?
In an interview, Xixu Sun, chief retail banking officer at Bank of China UK Ltd, said, 'Before the financial crisis you didn't have a choice, you couldn't cherry-pick the good customers.
Hunt Transport successfully designed a program, Better Health for Life, that did not cherry-pick participation based on motivation.
Northlake resident Mark Allan chided the city for attempting to cherry-pick a Valencia Commerce Center annexation.
Traditional distribution streams remain limited--Hollywood studios may cherry-pick only a few black films a year--but a new crop of entertainment mavericks are circumventing the establishment by forging other avenues into the business.
I believe in the Charter of Rights and I do not believe the prime minister can cherry-pick those rights.
It would, therefore, be wrong if SAIC, aided and abetted by the Chinese government, was able to cherry-pick the remains of MG Rover Group and effectively get what they want and at the same time stick two fingers up at the thousands of workers who are now concerned about their own and their family's future.
Since most Japanese are not dogmatically religious, tending to cherry-pick aspects of Buddhism, Shintoism and Christianity, wedding ceremonies are not so firmly tied to particular places of worship.
It would be a while before the world caught up--and before the bigger media players started to cherry-pick our articles.
Most of the families of Chad students make between just $10,000 and $30,000 a year, and the school does not cherry-pick only the top students for enrollment.
Without the strong agreements that exist between current cable providers and Tennessee's local governments, new companies entering the market can cherry-pick neighborhoods for services and effectively discriminate against lower income and rural areas.
We revealed in January how Bolingbroke would cherry-pick pupils but not accept those from a council estate - a decision the school's fatcat backers were shamed into reversing.