Slot Definition and Information About Slot Machines

A narrow notch or groove, as in the keyway of a lock, or a slit for coins in a vending machine. The term also refers to a position in a sequence, series, or group: He slotted in right behind the leader.

The word slots can also be used to describe a machine or game that pays out winnings to players according to a pay table. These machines may accept cash or, in the case of “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, paper tickets with barcodes that are scanned to determine the player’s eligibility for prizes. The symbols on a slot machine vary according to the theme, but classics include fruits, bells, and stylized lucky sevens.

There is a common belief that if a slot machine has not paid out for a long time, it is “due to hit.” This belief is flawed, however, because machines are programmed to give back the same amount of money over a large number of spins, regardless of whether they are located at the end of an aisle or near other popular games. Moreover, the odds of hitting the jackpot or other bonus features are no greater at the end of an aisle than they are in the middle.

In computer science, a slot is a dynamic placeholder that either waits for content to be added (a passive slot) or calls for it to be added through the use of a scenario or a targeter (an active slot). Slots and scenarios work in tandem with each other to deliver content to the page; renderers specify how the content should be presented.

In slang, to fit into a place or position: She slotted in nicely between the two other girls. In field hockey and ice hockey, the area of the playing surface directly in front of the goal, extending out to the blue line: The defensive team’s center shifted forward to occupy the slot, giving him a good vantage point to launch his attacks. These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word’slot.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.