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What Is a Slot?

A position in a group, series or sequence. In aviation, a slot refers to an opening in the wing or tail surface that can be used for a high-lift or control device. The term can also be used in the context of a time slot on a calendar or a schedule, for example: “He has a meeting scheduled at 3PM next week.”

In computing, a slot is a container for signals. It is similar to a variable or parameter in a function, except that it can be connected to multiple signals. When a signal is emitted, all of its connected slots receive the information.

This flexibility comes with a price, however: when emitting a signal with slots, it takes about ten times as long as simply calling the receivers directly. This overhead reflects the extra steps needed to find the connection objects, to safely iterate over them, and to marshal any parameters that are passed along.

In a video slot machine, the player places 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 reels that are loaded with symbols, and if the machine’s software determines that a winning combination has been made, the player earns credits according to the paytable. Symbols vary, but classics include fruit, bells and stylized lucky sevens. Many slot games have a theme, and the symbols and bonus features often align with it.