Definition of cherry in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈtʃɛri/

noun (plural cherries)

1A small, soft round stone fruit that is typically bright or dark red: a bowl of cherries [as modifier]: cherry pie
More example sentences
  • His mother would place a bowl of bright red cherries or shiny pistachios before us and we picked at the food as we chatted lazily.
  • In 1920, Midwestern states produced a variety of crops such as apples, cherries, grapes, tomatoes, potatoes, and strawberries.
  • My snack is Granny Smith apples, grapes or cherries and low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese.
2 (also cherry tree) The tree that bears the cherry.
  • Genus Prunus, family Rosaceae: several species, the edible kinds being derived from the sweet (or wild) cherry (P. avium) and the sour (or morello) cherry (P. cerasus).
Example sentences
  • Nylon netting draped over your cherry tree or blueberry bushes will keep birds away.
  • You might for example, plant pale violet tulips at the base of a pink-flowering cherry tree.
  • Looking out across the pond one sees a cherry tree in palest pink, and, farther away, the glistening white trunks of an old birch tree.
2.1 (also cherrywood) [mass noun] The wood of the cherry tree.
Example sentences
  • Upstairs, the master bedroom features a maple floor and fitted cherrywood wardrobes, while the remaining three bedrooms also have fitted wardrobes.
  • The cherrywood handle scales are very pleasing to the eye.
  • She gripped the round top of the cherry bedpost that her father had fashioned so carefully.
2.2Used in names of unrelated plants with fruits similar to those of the cherry tree, e.g. cornelian cherry.
Example sentences
  • In 1922 Japanese cherries were planted in Sparkes Gully but in 1923 it was decided that all future plantings should be indigenous to South Australia.
  • Where resistance to oak root fungus is needed, try bush anemone, Catalina cherry, or spice bush.
3 [mass noun] A bright deep red colour: [as modifier]: her mouth was a bright cherry red she pulled up the collar of her cherry wool coat
More example sentences
  • When purchasing red meat the flesh should be firm, cherry red in colour and finely grained.
  • She had a movie-star smile completed with cherry red lips and bright alabaster teeth.
  • I yelled, my cheeks taking their cherry red colouring again.
4 (one's cherry) informal One’s virginity: only 3 per cent of the students lost their cherry at college



a bite at the cherry

British An attempt or opportunity to do something: the team had victory snatched from their grasp, and could well have had their last bite at the cherry
More example sentences
  • Virgin Blue, Australia's second biggest carrier will get a bite at the cherry ahead of Singapore.
  • Yes of course we're going to buy it but a demo gives us a bite at the cherry a few days/weeks or whatever before we grab it off the shelves.
  • If you want the domain you should use every leverage you can to prevent anybody else having a bite at the cherry.

a bowl of cherries

[usually with negative] A very pleasant or enjoyable situation or experience: life isn’t exactly a bowl of cherries
More example sentences
  • My life hasn't been, as Mary Jane would put it, a bowl of cherries.
  • Until that day, life had been a bowl of cherries with few pits.
  • History tells us that life as a rock star is far from a bowl of cherries.

the cherry on the cake (or on top)

A desirable feature perceived as the finishing touch to something that is already very good: the car is faster than a Ferrari, but the cherry on the cake is the price
More example sentences
  • Such gripes, though, are minor, as this is but the cherry on the cake, the cake in question being next year's fifth album proper.
  • Perfect use of lighting, scenography and projections emphasised slick performances by a formidable cast and an evocative musical score was the cherry on the cake.
  • This one was the cherry on the cake for L: he loved it.


Middle English: from Old Northern French cherise, from medieval Latin ceresia, based on Greek kerasos 'cherry tree, cherry'. The final -s was lost because cherise was interpreted as plural (compare with caper2 and pea).

  • Cherry comes from Old French cherise, and at first cheris(e) was the English word for the fruit too. When people heard this word they seem to have thought that it must be a plural and so decided that the word for one of these fruit was cherry. Pea is another example of the same process. The cherry is one of the few fruits native to Britain, and although delicious it has a short fruiting season. For these reasons it represents something pleasant or desirable in a number of common expressions. To have two bites (or a second bite) at the cherry is to have more than one attempt or chance to do something. An extremely pleasant or enjoyable experience can be described as a bowl of cherries. And the cherry on the cake is an attractive feature that provides the finishing touch.

Words that rhyme with cherry

beriberi, berry, BlackBerry, bury, Ceri, Derry, ferry, Gerry, jerry, Kerry, merry, perry, Pondicherry, sherry, terry, very, wherry, wolfberry

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cherry

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.