What is a Slot?
Slot is a noun that means “a narrow opening or position” and is related to the verb sleutha, meaning “to cut or provide with a slot.” The word was first used in 1747 and has become obsolete in the sense of “drop a coin into” or “fit something into.” In hockey, a slot is a rectangular area between the faceoff circles. A wing with a slot on the front edge is often called a scoring zone.
A slot is a grammatical function that can fit any sequence of morphemes. It has multiple meanings, but is generally used to indicate a job opening or assignment. A slot in the copy desk, for instance, may be the interior opening occupied by a chief copy editor. A slot in an airport’s air traffic control is authorized by an authority, whereas a slot in a passenger plane is an opening that is used by several flights.
A slot machine’s payout percentage is set at the factory when the machine’s software is programmed. Changing it requires a physical swap of software. The software is typically stored on an EPROM or NVRAM memory chip. In some jurisdictions, the procedure is much more time-consuming and requires the presence of Gaming Control Board officials. In some instances, however, a player may be able to manually change the payout percentage. For this reason, slot machines must be upgraded frequently, in order to maintain compliance with laws.