this sentence is about programming, but I don't know what the meaning of "spin up" as follows is.

We're doing that by using a class from Microsoft.AspNetCore.Hosting, and that is the web host class that has a static method that makes this easy to "spin up" a web server, it's called CreateDefaultBuilder, and once I have a web host builder, I need to configure that builder a little bit.

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    "Spin up", in this context, relies on two separate metaphors. "Spinning" is the first step in making cloth from fleece or cotton. (OK, "carding" comes first, but everyone ignores that.) And when you play a "record" (remember those?) you "spin up" the platter before placing the needle on the record. Both convey a sense of getting things started, and so "spin up" means "get started" in a number of industries.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 12:42
  • @HotLicks care to write that up as an answer?
    – arp
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 0:58
  • @Lambie Getting things to move faster has nothing to do with speed? Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 20:06
  • @Lambie - The term was in use long before hard disks.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 20:28
  • Benny Goodman recorded "Spin a Record" in 1949: jdisc.columbia.edu/session/benny-goodman-september-18-1949
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 20:56

3 Answers 3


This is all incorrect. In computer science, the term originally referred to part of the process of starting a hard disk drive. HDDs have platters that spin. When a HDD starts, the platter "spins up." It is used as a metaphor when describing virtual machines that do not actually have a physical HDD or machines that contain a SSD. Source is me - a professional IT worker.

  • This answer really would be better as a comment, since there isn't a reference given (and I don't think one exists). There are references for spin-up in the context of platter disks (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin-up).
    – jimm101
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 19:13
  • 'In computer science, the term originally referred to part of the process of starting a hard disk drive.' (a) doesn't mean exactly the same as 'the term originated in computer science, and referred to part of the process of starting a hard disk drive.' (it is quite likely that the term was first used by say DJs), but (b) doesn't license 'this is all incorrect'. One usage may well have led to another. Perhaps 'These answers are inadequate'? Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 20:05
  • This answer has the virtue of being context related. Rather than a dictionary definition floating in the ether.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 20:34
  • 2
    "Spin up" is a reference to any and all motors, flywheels, turbines, and the like, and not to disk drives in particular.
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 21:52
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    The first sentence may be easier to understand if you know that in many early machines, the disk provided the reference clock signal. The cpu was slaved to the disk. Literally the only thing you had to do to turn on these machines was spin up the disk. Navigation electronics are spun up because the first INSs had PIGAs and gyro compasses.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Jan 11, 2020 at 0:12

For the unbelievers, here's the definition:

Definition - What does Spin-Up mean? Spin-up is when a disk in a disk drive speeds up to the required revolutions per minute for effective writing to or reading from the disk. Conventional hard disk drives have one or more platters that revolve mechanically on a spindle while reading and writing elements alter the magnetic surface of the disk.


A hard disk drive (HDD), hard disk, hard drive, or fixed disk[b] is an electro-mechanical data storage device that uses magnetic storage to store and retrieve digital information using one or more rigid rapidly rotating disks [SPINNING] (platters) coated with magnetic material. The platters are paired with magnetic heads, usually arranged on a moving actuator arm, which read and write data to the platter surfaces.2 Data is accessed in a random-access manner, meaning that individual blocks of data can be stored or retrieved in any order and not only sequentially. HDDs are a type of non-volatile storage, retaining stored data even when powered off.3[4][5]

Introduced by IBM in 1956,[6] HDDs were the dominant secondary storage device for general-purpose computers beginning in the early 1960s. HDDs maintained this position into the modern era of servers and personal computers.

hard disk drive and spinning (rotating)

And finally, in this day and age:

spin up in British English from the Collins Dictionary


(tr, adverb) computing to create (a virtual machine) using a cloud-computing service
to spin up a new server
spin up a server

  • "Spin up" is a reference to any and all motors, flywheels, turbines, and the like, and not to disk drives in particular.
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 21:54
  • @BenVoigt That is irrelevant here. Though I would have thought Crank it up would apply more to motors. Crank up the AC, Charlie!
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 21:55

To spin up a web server (a software application) is to create it rapidly.

Definition of spin

transitive verb

1 a : to draw out and twist into yarns or threads b : to produce by drawing out and twisting a fibrous material

2 : to form (something, such as a web or cocoon) by spinning

3 a : to stretch out or extend (something, such as a story) lengthily : protract —usually used with out b : to evolve, express, or fabricate by processes of mind or imagination spin a yarn

4 : to cause to whirl : impart spin to spin a top

5 : to shape into threadlike form in manufacture; also : to manufacture by a whirling process

6 : to set (records or compact discs) rotating on a player : play spin some discs

7 : to present (information) with a particular spin spin the statistics

Spin (Merriam-Webster)

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    This might be more useful if you explained how the dictionary definition of "spin" you have quoted relates to the colloquial "spin up".
    – arp
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 0:57

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