What is a Slot?


The slot is a thin opening in something, for example a slit for coins in a machine or the hole through which you send mail. It can also refer to a position in a group, series, or sequence: He slotted himself into the role of chief copy editor. The ice hockey player slid into the slot just ahead of his opponent’s defenseman.

The game of online slots is becoming ever more hi-tech. In the past, all that was needed were instructions above the reels; now the machines have screens full of information. This information, delivered by a small table known as the paytable, explains what symbols you can land on a particular spin and how much you can win if you land them all on a winning line.

In addition, the paytable provides information about other things going on in the slot, such as special symbols, jackpots, betting requirements and so forth. It’s amazing how many players dive right into playing a slot without even reading the paytable, which is usually located near the bottom of the screen.

From c. 1400, the sense of “a narrow opening or groove” was borrowed from French. A similar meaning in English dates to 1940, when it was used of a position in a company or organization: the job was given to him. By 1950, it had acquired its more general meaning of a place in a series or sequence, as of events or appointments: We have arranged a week-long tour for the students.