washing machine n.
1. Old-style 14-inch hard disks in floor-standing cabinets. So called because of the size of the cabinet and the `top-loading' access to the media packs -- and, of course, they were always set on `spin cycle'. The washing-machine idiom transcends language barriers; it is even used in Russian hacker jargon. See also walking drives. The thick channel cables connecting these were called `bit hoses' (see hose, sense 3). 2. [CMU] A machine used exclusively for washing software. CMU has clusters of these.