The noun “slot” dates from 1747 and means “to cut or provide with a slot.” In 1888, the sense was “to drop a coin into”. From 1940 to 1966, the sense has also been used to mean fitting something into a place. This sense is obsolete. In ice hockey, a slot is a rectangular area between the faceoff circles and is sometimes called a scoring area. It is also the fourth position on a flying display.

There are several types of slots. Airport slots are those granted to airlines for certain periods of time, usually when parking spaces or runway throughput are limited. These slots are also traded, and some are extremely valuable. In 2016, one airport slot was sold for $75 million. Air traffic management slots are issued by EUROCONTROL and are part of their role as flow and capacity management. The purpose of this practice is to alleviate congestion in airports by limiting the number of passengers and ensuring that no single aircraft is delayed.

The basic principle of a slot machine is to win money when three or more matching symbols appear on the screen. The odds of hitting a jackpot are based on the payout of symbols matching the paytable. A single symbol can represent several other symbols, including fruits, lucky sevens, and more. Most slot games have a specific theme, which is tied into the bonus features. A bonus feature, such as an auto-replay function, helps players improve their chances of winning.