Slot – What Is It?


In football, the slot is a position in a wide receiver formation that is between and slightly behind the outside wide receivers. Slot receivers are usually quicker and smaller than traditional wide receivers, allowing them to run more complicated routes. Slot receivers are also important for teams that use the spread offense. In recent seasons, NFL teams have relied on slot receivers more than ever before.

The term slot is also used to describe the position of a player in a particular group, series or sequence. The word is derived from the Latin “slot” meaning a narrow notch, groove or opening, such as a keyway in a piece of machinery or a slit for a coin in a vending machine. The sense of “position in a series or sequence” is attested from 1942; that of “place in the schedule” is from 1966.

In a slot machine, a player inserts cash or, in ticket-in, ticket-out machines, a paper ticket with a barcode, into a designated slot. The machine then activates the reels, which display symbols. When the symbols line up on a winning payline, the player earns credits based on the payout table. The symbols vary by machine, but classics include fruits, bells and stylized lucky sevens. Most slot machines have a theme and bonus features that align with that theme. Some slots have adjustable paylines, while others have a fixed number that cannot be changed during play.