A narrow opening, especially a groove or notch. A slot is where coins go into a machine or mail goes into an envelope.
In football, a receiver who lines up in the slot is called a slot receiver. Slot receivers are often smaller than traditional wide receivers and need to be quicker and more agile to beat coverage. In recent seasons, teams have begun to rely on slot receivers more than ever before.
The term slot is also used to describe the position of a player in the game of chess, where each player has a specific number of moves available to him or her. For example, if a player is playing with two opponents, and one of them has the bishop, then the other has the slot. This is because the number of moves that each player has available to him or her is limited, and this limits the possibility of a checkmate.
A slot is also a type of container in the Web page design model that holds dynamic content. A slot can wait passively for content (a passive slot) or it can call out to a renderer to provide the content (an active slot). Slots and scenarios work in tandem to deliver content to the page; renderers specify how that content will be presented.
Historically, electromechanical slot machines had a fixed number of symbols, and this limited the possible combinations. When manufacturers began incorporating electronic components into their machines, they increased the amount of information that could be stored on a reel, and as a result, the number of combinations became much greater. However, this still limited jackpot sizes because the odds of a losing symbol appearing on a payline were disproportionate to its actual frequency on the physical reel.
In computer science, a slot is a reserved set of operations issued to a processor that are guaranteed to execute within the same pipeline as the current operation. This is a common feature of very long instruction word (VLIW) computers, and the concept has been generalized to other architectures as well.
In some cases, airlines must purchase a slot in order to operate at the same airport as other carriers. This can be expensive, especially in times of high demand. For example, during the coronavirus pandemic, coveted early morning landing slots at some of the world’s busiest airports have been sold for up to $75 million. This is because airlines are willing to pay a premium to avoid being delayed and missing their connections, and air traffic controllers are willing to give airlines that have paid for slots priority over other requests. In addition, a few of the more expensive slots are allocated to new entrants into a market or those offering unserved routes. These monopolies have created a situation where some of the world’s best operators are struggling financially. This has led to some very interesting discussions at the negotiating table.