Word Origin & History
1236, from Anglo-Fr. cherise (taken as a pl.), from O.N.Fr. cherise, from V.L. *ceresia, from late Gk. kerasian "cherry," from Gk. kerasos "cherry tree," possibly from a language of Asia Minor. O.E. had ciris "cherry" from W.Gmc. form of the V.L. word, 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. Cherry-pick, in a pejorative sense, first recorded 1972.