The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
infinite loop \infinite loop\ n.
1. (Computers) a series of instructions in a computer program
which, when executed, cause a cyclic repetition of the
same instructions, with no other action by the program,
for as long as the program continues to be executed, or
the loop is interrupted by some external action.
Note: An infinite loop is rarely written intentionally except
in cases where the loop is intended merely as a waiting
sequence, to be interrupted by some action of the user.
It is more commonly the result of a serious logical
error on the part of the programmer, resulting in a
failure of the program. Its execution can be halted
only by halting execution of the program, e.g. by
intervention of the operating system or by halting or
resetting the computer. In single-user systems, when
executing an infinite loop, the computer will appear to
halt operation of the program, and the program will be
unresponsive to normal keyboard input, though it may be
interrupted by an unmasked interrupt.
The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003):
One that never terminates (that is, the machine spins or buzzes forever
and goes catatonic). There is a standard joke that has been made about
each generation's exemplar of the ultra-fast machine: ?The Cray-3 is so
fast it can execute an infinite loop in under 2 seconds!?
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015):
wound around the axle
(Or "endless loop") Where a piece of program is
executed repeatedly with no hope of stopping. This is nearly
always because of a bug, e.g. if the condition for exiting
the loop is wrong, though it may be intentional if the program
is controlling an embedded system which is supposed to run
continuously until it is turned off. The programmer may also
intend the program to run until interrupted by the user. An
endless loop may also be used as a last-resort error handler
when no other action is appropriate. This is used in some
operating system kernels following a panic.
A program executing an infinite loop is said to spin or
buzz forever and goes catatonic. The program is "wound
around the axle".
A standard joke has been made about each generation's exemplar
of the ultra-fast machine: "The Cray-3 is so fast it can
execute an infinite loop in under 2 seconds!"
See also black hole, recursion, infinite loop.