What is a Slot?


A narrow opening, such as a hole in a door or the space into which one fits a key. The word is derived from the Middle Dutch slot, which in turn derives from the Proto-Germanic *slutila (source also of Old Frisian sletel, German Schloss “bolt, bar, lock”), probably from PIE root *klau- “hook, nail, pin.”

In computer hardware, a slot is an expansion port for connecting additional components to a motherboard. A typical desktop or laptop computer has several slots for expansion cards, including PCI, ISA, and AGP. Each slot is identified by a number and color that indicates its function. A red slot, for example, is a memory slot.

At casinos and other gambling establishments, a slot is a machine that spins reels to pay out prizes based on combinations of symbols. Slot machines can be themed after movies, TV shows, or other popular genres and may feature bonus games, free spins, jackpots, and other features. Unlike traditional casino table games, slot machines do not require the player to place a bet in order to win.

The pay table for a particular slot machine is usually listed above and below the area where coins are inserted. This information can help the player decide how much to bet and which symbols to look for. Many slots also have wild symbols that can substitute for other symbols to form a winning line. A player’s odds of winning are based on the combination of symbols that appear on the pay line.

In sports, a slot is the position on a team’s defensive backfield assigned to cover the opposing team’s slot receiver, a fast and agile wide receiver who often catches footballs near the sidelines. A good slot corner must be well conditioned and possess excellent athletic ability to adequately cover this dangerous position.

Airline slots are time periods of runway use granted to airlines at congested airports by air-traffic control. Slots are normally allocated on a seasonal basis, with preference given to new entrants and those airlines offering unserved routes. However, the coronavirus crisis has reduced airline capacity significantly, and some desirable slots are now available at bargain prices.

In computer gaming, a slot is a space in the body of a computer that contains an expansion card. This card is connected to the system board through an expansion bus, and it provides additional functionality to the computer. The expansion card can be used to increase the amount of memory available for programs and applications, or it can provide extra graphics capabilities. Some expansion cards contain built-in features such as a parallel port, which can be used for connecting devices such as printers to the computer. Others have USB ports for adding external peripherals such as mice and keyboards. Others have eSATA ports that support high-speed external hard drives. Some expansion cards also include firewire slots for connecting video cameras and microphones. All of these features are designed to provide greater flexibility and functionality for the computer user.