You’ve checked in on time, made it through security, found your gate and queued up to get on board. But then the captain just says, “We’re waiting for a slot.” What’s that all about?

A narrow notch, groove or opening, as a keyway in a piece of machinery or a slit for a coin in a vending machine. Also: a position in a group, series or sequence.

In computing, a slot is a container for a child component that doesn’t have direct access to state in the parent scope. Using slots, developers can pass data to their child components without violating separation of concerns. In addition to containing data, slots can also be used to organize work events according to a schedule. For example, informal team meetings can be held during a specified time slot, as can consultations with managers and evaluation reviews with employees.

In casinos, a slot is a device that takes money from players and gives it back to them based on the odds of winning. While it’s not a very reliable form of gambling, many people still play slot machines for monetary benefits. However, the fact that slot machines can pay out big jackpots doesn’t make them any less of a risky endeavor. It’s important to always be aware of the potential downsides of a slot game before playing it.