A narrow notch or groove, as in the wing of an airplane or the slit for a coin in a vending machine. Also: a position in a group, series, or sequence; a spot or time for something to happen.
The term slot is also used for a computer processor connection, especially the original Intel Slot 1 (pictured), which was designed to make it easier to upgrade processors. Today, however, newer computers use sockets instead of slots.
In football, a slot receiver is a wide receiver who lines up at the back of the formation, closer to the line of scrimmage than other receivers. Slot receivers must be quick and agile to run routes with maximum effectiveness, and they often play in high-traffic areas where they need to anticipate other players’ movements.
Slots are usually reserved for the best players on a team, and they can be very lucrative. A good slot receiver can easily earn $200,000 per season. The value of a slot depends on the number and quality of other players competing for the same role, but the most successful slot receivers are usually the fastest and most accurate.
The number of symbols on a slot machine is limited, and winning combinations are determined by their frequency on the reels. Manufacturers used to weigh particular symbols differently, but this is no longer the case with modern electronic slots, which are programmed to weight particular symbols according to their probability of appearing on the payline.
In the United States, private ownership of slot machines is legal in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. In other states, such as Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, only licensed casinos may operate slot machines, and ownership is prohibited unless the machine is more than 25-30 years old.
In the United Kingdom, slot is a slang word for an appointment or time of day. For example, if you book an appointment at the dentist and you miss it, they will probably ask whether or not you have another slot later in the week. However, the word is not widely used in other countries. The spelling of the word varies, as does its meaning and usage: in some places, it is pronounced as though it were a verb; in others, it is a noun or adjective.