Does it strictly refer to taking someone's virginity, or does it express sexual intercourse in general?


Nobody "picks" anybody's cherry. Cherries are "popped" and cherry in this case refers to hymen.

To "pop one's cherry" in a non-sexual way is to do a thing for the first time.

Cherry-picking is something else altogether.

  • Which means you engage in cherry picking if you choose only the rules you like in a set of rules when you are supposed to use all the rules... – mplungjan Mar 4 '11 at 13:54
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    Cherry picking is also used in sports for someone who puts forth almost no defensive effort, relying on teammates to perform the defense and make a favorable play (like stealing the ball) but instead positioning themselves for the easy offensive play. It's typically combated by rules like "off-sides." – corsiKa Mar 4 '11 at 17:52
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    It's not just the hymen. Popping one's cherry can also refer to anal intercourse. – TRiG Aug 5 '11 at 0:31

From the New Oxford American Dictionary:

cherry (noun) 4. [in sing.] [vulgar, slang] the hymen, as representing a woman's virginity.