A slot is a narrow opening into which something can be fitted or inserted. It can also refer to a position or time in a schedule or plan. The word is derived from the Latin for a “place or gap” and may be related to English words such as slit, groove, and hole. The meaning as a narrow opening into which something can be inserted is attested by 1520s, the sense of “place in a machine to accept a coin” is from 1888, and the figurative sense of “position, spot on a list or schedule” is attested by 1942.
A slot in the sense of an airplane landing time is a small window in which a plane can land at a congested airport. Airlines can request slots, and the allocation of these slots is based on various factors, including how many airlines are requesting them, and whether or not the airline already has flights at that location.
A slot can also refer to the area on a computer screen in which a program or application runs. This can also be used to refer to the space on a hard drive that a program or application uses for data storage. A slot can also be a specific function or piece of hardware in a computer, such as the memory chip on a microprocessor.