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What do you call something that goes into a slot?

"Slot" here would be (according to Wiktionary):

A narrow depression, perforation, or aperture; especially, one for the reception of a piece fitting or sliding in it.

Edit for context:

I'm using the concepts in a software program I'm trying to write. In order to help the end users understand the end result, I came up with the physical representation of wooden boxes with an open top, called slots, with corresponding objects to go in these slots on a one-to-one basis. There would be many objects available per slot, but each object would only fit in one slot at a time

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Tab According to those assembly directions we get from the Far East: Insert tab A into slot B. –  GEdgar Jul 21 '11 at 0:47
    
@GEdgar: lol, I agree, although Tab is too commonly a used term for what I would like. –  TorelTwiddler Jul 21 '11 at 2:10
    
I am not aware of any particular "thing" that is the counterpart to slot. Do you have a particular type of slot in mind? –  MrHen Jul 21 '11 at 4:52
    
I'm using the concepts in a software program I'm trying to write. In order to help the end users understand the end result, I came up with the physical representation of wooden boxes with an open top, called slots, with corresponding objects to go in these slots on a one-to-one basis. There would be many objects available per slot, but each object would only fit in one slot at a time. –  TorelTwiddler Jul 21 '11 at 6:24
    
Sounds more like you're talking about (the proverbial round and square) pegs and holes. Perhaps if you consider something other than "slot" you'll find a a peg that is a better fit for your hole. –  mickeyf Jul 21 '11 at 13:50

5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

A key, or a token, depending on the context.

With the word key, I was referring to part of a machine component that is specially shaped to slot into, and lock with, the keyway of a shaft.

(Though, of course, a key more commonly refers to an object that slides in through the keyhole of a lock, and acts to unlock it.)

A token would be something similar to a coin, which would pass straight though a slot.

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I like token, although technically what I'm going for is more of what you defined as a key. I don't want to use key, however, since it's being used already. I'll accept in a few hours if no other ideas show up. –  TorelTwiddler Jul 20 '11 at 22:58
    
If you want the most specific part, it's the blade of the key that's inserted into the slot. –  Kit Z. Fox Jul 20 '11 at 23:56
    
@Kit: That's a bit too specific for what I was thinking. =P –  TorelTwiddler Jul 21 '11 at 2:09
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@TorelTwiddle: Locating pegs/stubs and alignment pins can also fit into slots. Can you provide detail on what exactly it is that you need to describe? –  bracho monacho Jul 21 '11 at 7:30
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The word that came to my mind was "peg", but "key" works too. –  TecBrat Aug 11 '12 at 3:05

In engineering it would be a tang

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Interesting — I’d never come across this sense of tang before! Can you give some typical examples? –  PLL Jul 21 '11 at 8:33
    
The tang of a knife is the part of the metal, continuous with the blade, which is fixed within the handle. –  Ben Jul 21 '11 at 10:00
    
Oh, right! My husband (an electrician) has used that word before. It's similar to a stab. –  Kit Z. Fox Jul 21 '11 at 14:49

Insert is a noun that might fit you (as for example in: shoe insert)

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The Qt C++ library from Nokia has the concept of slots. The counterpart to those are signals. Signals can be connected to slots and would indicate some form of communication, e.g. a button being pressed creates a signal that reaches a slot in order to perform some action.

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I'm a programmer myself, so let me give some suggestions from a computer science prospective.

A common generic term for a member of a collection of items is an element. Alternatively, if your collection is accessed by arbitrary key, e.g. a "hash table", "map", "associative array" or "dictionary", you might use the more specific term value (part of a key/value pair, or entry).

Also note that the specific term slot is often used academically when discussing the classic "hash table" data structure; this may be confusing to other programmers if your data structure behaviors differently. I realize you're more looking for a term for end-users, but it's important to be clear to other coders as well.

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