A slot is a narrow opening, or slit, for receiving something, such as a coin. It is also used as a term for an appointment or position, such as a berth on a ship or a job. From The American Heritage® Roget’s Thesaurus, adapted by copyright permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Until the 1990s, electromechanical slot machines had tilt switches that would make or break a circuit if the machine was tampered with, such as a door switch being in the wrong state, reel motor out of balance or the machine running out of paper. Although modern machines do not have such mechanical devices, the term “tilt” is still applied to any kind of malfunction.

Slots are easy to learn, but hard to master, so beginners should start with games that have a low volatility and a good payout percentage. Players should also set a budget for playing slots that is not part of their regular income, so they can play responsibly.

A specialized form of slotting is plunging, in which the entire slot is machined solely by axial cuts. This technique is advantageous for situations in which interrupted cutting would deflect the tool, create vibrations, or lead to heat buildup. For instance, plunging is the preferred method for slotting long tools with large overhangs or deep slots because it allows for continuous cutting and minimizes vibrations. It is not the most productive method, however, as it tends to leave a poor surface finish and requires a secondary cut with other tools.