What is a Slot?

A narrow notch or groove, especially one for receiving something, as in a keyway in machinery, or a slit for a coin in a vending machine. Alternatively, as a noun:

a position or assignment in a group, series, or sequence; position: The job candidate got the slot as chief copy editor.

In computer science, a place in memory or on a disk where a specific type of data can be stored. See also save slot, storage slot, and ROM.

A slit or other narrow opening, especially one for receiving something, as a coin or a letter. Also, a position or assignment in a group, sequence, or series: The program received a new time slot on the broadcasting schedule.

An elongated depression or groove, especially one for receiving something, such as a coin or a letter. The slot in a letter is usually a bit more than an inch wide, and the slots in doors and windows are often much wider. The term is also used figuratively for a gap or opening in anything, from an airplane window to a door lock.

In the United States, a casino game in which players insert cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, paper tickets with barcodes, to activate reels that spin and stop to rearrange symbols. The game then pays out credits based on the paytable. Most slot games have a theme, with symbols and bonus features aligned with the theme.

Unlike video poker, where the game is played against the house, in a slot machine the player competes with other players. To win, the player must have a winning combination of symbols on the paytable. These symbols may be classic objects such as fruits, bells, and stylized lucky sevens, or themed characters or locations. Many slot machines are part of a carousel, where they appear in groups around a central display screen. In mechanical machines, the display is a seven-segment numeric display; in modern video slot machines, it is a liquid crystal or plasma screen.

A position or assignment in a group, series, sequence, or event, or the space available for a particular activity. See also time slot.

Sports A rectangular area in front of the goal on an ice hockey or field hockey rink between the face-off circles. The slot is a crucial position for the defensemen because it allows them to move freely on the ice and prevent the opposing team from attacking.

A slot is a very small area in which a person can fit. It is usually a slit or hole, but it can also be a trough or channel in which something is passed. A slot in the hull of an aircraft or ship is designed to allow air to flow through the craft without creating drag, and thus to reduce fuel consumption. The slot is usually a few inches wide, but it can be as much as two feet. This is important because it can make a large difference in the amount of drag experienced by an airplane or ship at low speeds.

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