From NPR:

DRATEL: You start from the acceptable resolution for both sides, and then you work backward to achieve that. If you start from the ground up I don't think you'd get very far because there are too many issues that could present obstacles.

JOHNSON: Translation - figure out a punishment for someone like Snowden and then cherry pick any charges to which he'll plead guilty or get some deferred penalty.

INTRODUCTION: Dratel is a Veteran Defense Lawyer, who's represented several fugitives. and Johnson is the NPR reporter, who was explaining what Dratel meant.

Why did she use "cherry", shouldn't it be "cheerily"?

SOURCE: One Year Later, Snowden Still Evades U.S. Charges

  • 4
    See Collins: cherry-pick
    – jimsug
    Jun 8, 2014 at 3:17
  • @jimsug Thank you! I didn't realize "cherry-pick" is a single word.
    – Searene
    Jun 8, 2014 at 9:12
  • 1
    I don't think this is off-topic - you could look up cherry and pick and not realise that they're meant to be part of a hyphenated, single word. Perhaps too localised, though?
    – jimsug
    Jun 9, 2014 at 4:36

1 Answer 1


To cherry pick (with or without a hyphen) is to select from a body of data or collection of entities only those which support your purpose and to ignore those which do not.

The author suggests that the negotiators between Snowden and the US Government will proceed by first defining an acceptable outcome and then bringing only those legal charges against Snowden which will result in that outcome.

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