one-armed bandit

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

An antique one-armed bandit.

From one-armed (having only one arm) +‎ bandit (one who robs others in a lawless area, especially as part of a group; one who cheats others), referring to the fact that the machine is operated by a single handle, and “steals” money from losing players.

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Noun[edit]

one-armed bandit (plural one-armed bandits)

  1. (originally US, gambling) A gaming machine having a long arm-like handle at one side that a player pulls down to make reels spin; the player wins money or tokens when certain combinations of symbols line up on these reels.

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