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  1. a narrow, elongated depression, groove, notch, slit, or aperture, especially a narrow opening for receiving or admitting something, as a coin or a letter.
  2. a place or position, as in a sequence or series: The program received a new time slot on the broadcasting schedule.
  3. Linguistics. (especially in tagmemics) a position having a specific grammatical function within a construction into which any one of a set of morphemes or morpheme sequences can be fit.Compare filler(def 9).
  4. an assignment or job opening; position: I applied for the slot in management training.
  5. Journalism.
    1. the interior opening in a copy desk, occupied by the chief copy editor.
    2. the job or position of chief copy editor: He had the slot at the Gazette for 20 years.Compare rim(def 7).
  6. an allocated, scheduled time and place for an aircraft to take off or land, as authorized by an airport or air-traffic authority: 40 more slots for the new airline at U.S. airports.
  7. Informal. slot machine(def 1).
  8. Aeronautics. See under slat1(def 2).
  9. Ornithology. a narrow notch or other similar opening between the tips of the primaries of certain birds, which during flight helps to maintain a smooth flow of air over the wings.
  10. Ice Hockey. an unmarked area near the front of an opponent's goal that affords a vantage for an attacking player.
  11. Computers. expansion slot.
verb (used with object), slot·ted, slot·ting.
  1. to provide with a slot or slots; make a slot in.
  2. to place or fit into a slot: We've slotted his appointment for four o'clock.
verb (used without object), slot·ted, slot·ting.
  1. to fit or be placed in a slot.

Origin of slot1

1300–50; Middle English: the hollow of the breastbone < Middle French esclot < ?
Related formsun·slot·ted, adjective


  1. the track or trail of a deer or other animal, as shown by the marks of the feet.
  2. a track, trace, or trail of something.

Origin of slot2

1565–75; < Anglo-French, Middle French esclot the hoofprint of a horse, probably < Old Norse slōth track, trail; see sleuthhound


  1. a long thin, narrow strip of wood, metal, etc., used as a support for a bed, as one of the horizontal laths of a Venetian blind, etc.
  2. Aeronautics. a control surface along the leading edge of a wing that can be extended forward to create a gap (slot) to improve airflow.
  3. slats, Slang.
    1. the ribs.
    2. the buttocks.
    3. (initial capital letter)a nickname for a tall, slender man.
verb (used with object), slat·ted, slat·ting.
  1. to furnish or make with slats

Origin of slat1

1350–1400; Middle English sclat, slatt a slate < Middle French esclat splinter, fragment; see éclat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for slot

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The plate burped and a slip dropped out of the slot below it.

    Mezzerow Loves Company

    Floyd L. Wallace

  • For a moment she paused irresolute; then she dropped the coin in the slot.


    Alice Hegan Rice

  • Bill Joseph is the luckiest man that ever tapped a slot machine.

  • The blade lies in a slot and is held tight by the tapered ferrule.

    Wood-Block Printing

    F. Morley Fletcher

  • He had therefore to be content with observation through the slot.

    The Pit Prop Syndicate

    Freeman Wills Crofts

British Dictionary definitions for slot


  1. an elongated aperture or groove, such as one in a vending machine for inserting a coin
  2. an air passage in an aerofoil to direct air from the lower to the upper surface, esp the gap formed behind a slat
  3. a vertical opening between the leech of a foresail and a mast or the luff of another sail through which air spills from one against the other to impart forward motion
  4. informal a place in a series or scheme
verb slots, slotting or slotted
  1. (tr) to furnish with a slot or slots
  2. (usually foll by in or into) to fit or adjust in a slot
  3. informal to situate or be situated in a series or scheme
Derived Formsslotter, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old French esclot the depression of the breastbone, of unknown origin


  1. the trail of an animal, esp a deer

Word Origin

C16: from Old French esclot horse's hoof-print, probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse sloth track; see sleuth


  1. a narrow thin strip of wood or metal, as used in a Venetian blind, etc
  2. a movable or fixed auxiliary aerofoil attached to the leading edge of an aircraft wing to increase lift, esp during landing and takeoff
verb slats, slatting or slatted
  1. (tr) to provide with slats

Word Origin

C14: from Old French esclat splinter, from esclater to shatter


verb slats, slatting or slatted
  1. (tr) to throw violently; fling carelessly
  2. (intr) to flap violently
  1. a sudden blow

Word Origin

C13: of Scandinavian origin; related to Old Norse, Icelandic sletta to slap


  1. Irish a spent salmon

Word Origin

C19: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for slot


late 14c., "hollow at the base of the throat above the breastbone," from Old French esclot "hoofprint of a deer or horse," of uncertain origin, probably from Old Norse sloð "trail" (see sleuth). Original sense is rare or obsolete in Modern English; sense of "narrow opening into which something else can be fitted" is first recorded 1520s. Meaning "middle of the (semi-circular) copy desk at a newspaper," the spot occupied by the chief sub-editor, is recorded from 1917. The sense of "opening in a machine for a coin to be inserted" is from 1888 (slot machine first attested 1891). The sense of "position in a list" is first recorded 1942; verb sense of "designate, appoint" is from 1960s. Slot car first attested 1966.


"bar or bolt used to fasten a door, window, etc.," c.1300, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German slot (cf. Old Norse slot, Old High German sloz, German Schloss "bolt, bar, lock, castle;" Old Saxon slutil "key," Dutch slot "a bolt, lock, castle"), from Proto-Germanic stem *slut- "to close" (cf. Old Frisian sluta, Dutch sluiten, Old High German sliozan, German schliessen "to shut, close, bolt, lock"), from PIE root *klau- "hook, peg" (cf. Greek kleis "key;" Latin claudere "to shut, close," clavis "key," clavus "nail;" see close (v.)). Wooden pegs seem to have been the original keys.


1560s, "to bolt a door," from slot (n.2). Related: Slotted; slotting.


1747, "provide with a slot, cut slots in," from slot (n.1). Meaning "drop a coin in a slot" is from 1888. Sense of "take a position in a slot" is from 1940; that of "fit (something) into a slot" is from 1966. Oldest sense is obsolete: "stab in the base of the throat" (c.1400). Related: Slotted; slotting.



late 14c., earlier sclat (c.1300), "a roofing slate, a thin, flat stone," from Old French esclat "split piece, chip, splinter" (Modern French éclat), back-formation from esclater "to break, splinter, burst," probably from Frankish *slaitan "to tear, slit" or some other Germanic source (cf. Old High German slizan, Old English slitan; see slit (v.)). Meaning "long, thin, narrow piece of wood or metal" attested from 1764.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper