one-armed bandit

or onearm bandit

[ wuhn-ahrmd ]
/ ˈwʌnˌɑrmd /

noun Informal.

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Origin of one-armed bandit

An Americanism dating back to 1935–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for one-armed bandit

one-armed bandit

noun

a fruit machine operated by pulling down a lever at one side
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

Idioms and Phrases with one-armed bandit

one-armed bandit

A slot machine, as in It's amazing how many people think they can make money playing a one-armed bandit. This term refers to both appearance and function: the operating lever looks like an arm, and the machine in effect robs players, since it “wins” and keeps the player's money in an overwhelming majority of instances. [c. 1930]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.