one-armed bandit

one-armed bandit

[wuhn-ahrmd]
noun Informal.
slot machine ( def 1 ).
Also, onearm bandit.


Origin:
1935–40, Americanism

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
one-armed bandit
 
n
a fruit machine operated by pulling down a lever at one side

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

one-armed bandit

A slot machine, as in It's amazing how many people think they can make money playing a one-armed bandit. This term refers to both appearance and function: the operating lever looks like an arm, and the machine in effect robs players, since it "wins" and keeps the player's money in an overwhelming majority of instances. [c. 1930]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

one-armed bandit

gambling device operated by dropping one or more coins or tokens into a slot and pulling a handle or pushing a button to activate one to three or more reels marked into horizontal segments by varying symbols. The machine pays off by dropping into a cup or trough from two to all the coins in the machine, depending on how and how many of the symbols line up when the rotating reels come to rest. Symbols traditionally used include stars, card suits, bars, numbers (7 is a favourite), various pictured fruits-cherries, plums, oranges, lemons, and watermelons-and the words jackpot and bar

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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