A slot is a narrow notch or opening, such as one for coins in a vending machine. A slot can also refer to a position in a queue, schedule, or other sequence. If someone slots something into something else, it means they fit well together. For example, you can “slot” a phone into its charger or a car seat belt into the buckle.
In slot machine play, a player inserts cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode into a designated slot on the machine. The machine then activates and spins, rearranging the symbols to form winning combinations. When a winning combination is created, the player earns credits based on the pay table displayed on the machine. Most slot games have a theme, and the symbols used vary according to that theme. Classic symbols include fruit, bells, and stylized lucky sevens.
NFL slot receivers get their name from the area of the field they occupy pre-snap between the last man on the line of scrimmage (usually the tight end or offensive tackle) and the outside wide receiver. These players are typically shorter and faster than traditional wide receivers, so they must be very precise with their routes and have excellent hands.
Air traffic controllers may assign a “slot” to an airplane, referring to its calculated take-off time. This is done to avoid wasting precious fuel in flight as the plane waits on the ground. Since the introduction of central flow management in Europe, there have been huge savings in both delays and fuel use thanks to slots.