The term “slot” comes from the late 14c. word meaning “hollow area” at the base of the throat above the breastbone. It is from the Old French esclot and is of uncertain origin, although it may be a derivative of the Old Norse slod. It first appears in English in the 1520s, when it was used to mean “a hollow space in a machine.” The term “slot machine” dates from 1888.
In addition to paying out a small amount to keep a player seated, a machine can also fail to pay the minimum payout over a period of many pulls. A term derived from electromechanical slot machines, tilt was used to describe any technical fault. It would break the circuit if tilted, and trigger an alarm. Modern slot machines do not have tilt switches, but any fault is still referred to as a tilt.
The noun “slot” comes from 1747, meaning “to provide with a slot or cut a slot in”. In 1888, the meaning was expanded to include the idea of dropping a coin in a slot. In the 1940s, the term was used to mean “taking a position in a slot” (as in the American Heritage Dictionary). The latter sense is now obsolete and does not occur in everyday language. Interestingly, there is a new sense for the word “slot” – namely, a small opening between the two faceoff circles of an aircraft. This is sometimes referred to as a scoring area.
The computer hardware in a slot computer is the “memory” in the machine. When a person plays the game, the computer will need to insert some type of memory into one of the memory slots. Typically, a computer motherboard will have two to four memory slots. Depending on the type of motherboard, there can be anywhere from two to four memory slots. There are also different types of slots in a motherboard, and the type of RAM that a computer uses will depend on the type of slot.