What Is a Slot?


A narrow opening, especially one into which something can be inserted. A mail slot in a door, for instance, is used to receive letters and postcards. A coin is inserted into the slot in a slot machine.

A slot can also refer to:

In sports, a position on the field or in a game that is assigned to a player. For example, a player may be designated the slot at cornerback or wide receiver. Alternatively, a player can be considered the slot in basketball when he/she is placed in front of the goalkeeper and defensive backs.

On a computer, a hardware device that can hold memory, such as an SSD disk or hard drive. A slot is also a place where data can be stored temporarily. This is an important feature for games that require fast response times, such as action shooters and racing games.

The term slot can also refer to a specific position on an aircraft or spacecraft, such as the co-pilot’s seat or the pilot’s window seat. Similarly, the term slot can refer to a time of day or flight schedule that is reserved for a particular route.

In the past decade, professional football teams have begun to rely on slot receivers much more than traditional wide receivers. These receivers are smaller and faster than their counterparts, making them more effective in the passing game. As a result, they are often targeted on nearly 40 percent of passing attempts. The NFL’s top slot receivers include Tyreek Hill and Brandin Cooks, both of whom are extremely effective on slant routes and quick outs.

Flex Your Skookum Vocabulary With This Week’s Word Of The Day

A slit or other narrow opening, especially one into which something can fit, such as a coin or a piece of paper. A slot can also refer to:

An area on a hockey rink between the face-off circles.

A narrow opening or gap in a piece of machinery, such as a door or machine. A slot can also refer to a numbered position in a timetable or on a keyboard.

In electromechanical slot machines, a lever or button (physical or on a touchscreen) activates reels that display symbols and may pay out credits according to the machine’s paytable. The symbols vary by machine, but classics include fruit, bells, and stylized lucky sevens.

The earliest sense of slot dates to 1520s; that of “narrow opening into which something can be fitted” is from 1888. The figurative sense of a position in a schedule or timetable is from 1940.

In computer science, a slot (plural: slots) is the operation issue and data path machinery surrounding a set of execution units that share these resources. It is common in very long instruction word (VLIW) computers, where the relationship between an operation and its pipeline to execute it is explicit. In dynamically scheduled machines, this concept is more commonly called an execute pipeline. See the main article for more information.