What is a Slot?


A narrow notch, groove, or opening: a slot in a door; a coin slot in a vending machine. Also: a position or time in which something can take place: a slot on the schedule; a slot in the air-traffic system.

An assigned time and place for an aircraft to take off or land, as authorized by an airport or air-traffic control. Also: a position in a route tree that allows an outside receiver to cover shorter routes, such as slants and quick outs. From Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition. Copyright 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

On electromechanical slot machines, the term “tilt” refers to any tampering with the machine that results in a loss of credit or an alarm (door switch out of place, reel motor failure, paper out). While modern video slots don’t have tilt switches, any kind of problem that reduces the chance of winning is said to be a taste.

In poker, a hand that contains a single pair of jacks or better is said to be in the slot. The term is also used to describe the position on the table where a player has a good chance of making a large bet. In football, a wide receiver who runs shorter routes on the route tree—such as slants and quick outs—is called a slot receiver. These players are typically fast and can stretch the defense vertically. They are contrasted with boundary receivers, who run deep routes downfield.