What Is a Slot?

A slot is a place in memory or on disk where a particular type of object can be stored. A slot can also refer to a position in an air-traffic control system that authorizes an aircraft to take off or land, as when the traffic controller assigned 40 more slots for the new airline at U.S. airports.

Getting greedy or betting more than you can afford to lose are the 2 biggest pitfalls of playing slot machines. The best way to avoid both of these is to have a plan before you play. Decide in advance how much you want to spend, and stick to it. Choose a machine that fits your budget, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure what the payouts or bets are.

Modern slot machines are controlled by microprocessors, which assign different probabilities to each stop on each reel. When the computer receives a signal — anything from a button being pressed to the handle being pulled — it records that three-number sequence in its internal sequence table, which then identifies which reel location that sequence corresponds to. The computer then translates the three numbers into a combination of symbols on the reels, and the reels are spun. Each spin is independent of any previous ones, so if you leave the machine and see someone else hit the jackpot, don’t worry: The odds are astronomically small that you would have pushed the button at exactly the same one-hundredth of a second as the winner.

The slit or hole in the forewing of some insects and some birds, which allows a smooth flow of air over the wings during flight. Also called a flutter, wingbeat, or fluttering.

(computing) A dynamic placeholder that holds content, dictated by a scenario using an Add Items to Slot action or a renderer. Slots are designed to work with specific types of content, and it is not recommended that you use multiple scenarios to fill a single slot.


A notch or opening, especially in the head of an animal, to which a strap or halter can be attached. Also, the name of a type of horseshoe.

In ice hockey or field hockey, the area in front of the opponent’s goal that affords a player a vantage point for attacking the net. Also known as the face-off circle, the slat, or the blue line.

Ornithology. The slit or gap between the primaries of certain birds that helps maintain a smooth airflow over the wings during flight.

(slang) A slat of timber or metal, such as that in the forewing of some birds, to which a strap or halter may be attached. Also, the name of slats that separate primaries in certain airplanes to facilitate gliding.

The term “slot” is also used to refer to the time and place of a plane’s departure or landing, as authorized by air-traffic control: There are only so many slots available at an airport, and they must be allocated to airlines in advance. Increasingly, air-traffic control systems are being installed in other parts of the world to reduce congestion and delays and save fuel.