What is the Meaning of Slot?


A slot is a narrow opening, especially one into which something can be inserted, such as a hole for a coin in a vending machine. It may also refer to a position in a series or sequence, such as a time slot on a calendar or the space reserved for a car seat belt.

In slot games, players insert cash or, in some “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, paper tickets with barcodes into designated slots. Then they press a button (physical or on a touchscreen), which activates reels that stop to rearrange the symbols. If the symbols form a winning combination, the player receives credits according to the pay table. Symbols vary with each game but classic icons include fruits, bells, and stylized lucky sevens. Most slot games have a theme and the symbols used in them are aligned with that theme.

Slot is also the name of a type of computer memory that stores information, often binary data, for quick access. This memory is similar to a disk drive, but it operates much more quickly and has much greater capacity. Most modern desktop computers, laptops and smartphones have built-in slots for expansion cards that provide additional memory. There are also external expansion slots for many older computers and devices.

Another meaning of the word is a notch or groove, usually in a door or window frame, for receiving a key. This explains the popularity of locks with slots for keys, as well as other types of security hardware. A slot may also refer to a narrow opening in a container, such as a container for pills, or the gap between the face-off circles on an ice hockey rink. The term can also mean the slot in a football play, where a wide receiver runs a route that is closer to the line of scrimmage and more likely to be blocked by defenders.

A slot is also the name of a variable width slot in a Web page, a dynamic element that can be configured to either wait for content (a passive slot) or to call out to a different page to load content (a active slot). Slots are an important part of Web sites because they allow developers to display and manage dynamic content without the need for a complicated programming language.

The word slot is also a verb, meaning to cut or make a slot; to put into or assign to a slot. The origin of the word is unclear but may be related to the Latin slutila, a bar or bolt that fastens shut a door or window. The sense of “narrow opening into which something can be fitted” is first attested in English from 1520; that of “position in a series or sequence” is from 1888. The idioms slot in and slotted are also attested.