noun, plural cher·ries.
- the fruit of any of various trees belonging to the genus Prunus, of the rose family, consisting of a pulpy, globular drupe enclosing a one-seeded smooth stone.
- the tree bearing such a fruit.
- the wood of such a tree.
- any of various fruits or plants resembling the cherry.
- bright red; cerise.
- Slang: Often Vulgar.
- the hymen.
- the state of virginity.
- something new or unused.
- a novice.
- Underworld Slang. a first offender.
- Bowling. the striking down of only the forward pin or pins in attempting to make a spare.
- bright-red; cerise.
- (of food and beverages) made with or containing cherries or cherrylike flavoring: cherry pie; cherry soda.
- (of furniture, woodwork, etc.) made of or covered or decorated with wood from the cherry tree.
- Slang: Often Vulgar. being a virgin.
- new or unused: a three-year-old car in cherry condition.
- inexperienced; being an innocent novice.
- Donald EugeneDon, 1936–95, U.S. jazz trumpeter.
noun plural -ries
- any of several trees of the rosaceous genus Prunus, such as P. avium (sweet cherry), having a small fleshy rounded fruit containing a hard stoneSee also bird cherry
- the fruit or wood of any of these trees
- any of various unrelated plants, such as the ground cherry and Jerusalem cherry
- a bright red colour; cerise
- (as adjective)a cherry coat
- slang virginity or the hymen as its symbol
- (modifier) of or relating to the cherry fruit or woodcherry tart
c.1300, earlier in surname Chyrimuth (1266, literally “Cherry-mouth”); from Anglo-French cherise, from Old North French cherise (Old French, Modern French cerise, 12c.), from Vulgar Latin *ceresia, from late Greek kerasian “cherry,” from Greek kerasos “cherry tree,” possibly from a language of Asia Minor. Mistaken in Middle English for a plural and stripped of its -s (cf. pea).
Old English had ciris “cherry” from a West Germanic borrowing of the Vulgar Latin word (cf. German Kirsch), but it died out after the Norman invasion and was replaced by the French word. Meaning “maidenhead, virginity” is from 1889, U.S. slang, from supposed resemblance to the hymen, but perhaps also from the long-time use of cherries as a symbol of the fleeting quality of life’s pleasures.