A hard disk is a high speed, rotating data device with a stiff disk-shaped, magnetic storage surface. As the other answer says, you can learn all about it from the Wikipedia article.
I would only add that the term “hard disk” was popularized in contradistinction to “floppy disk”. The latter, which is now an outmoded technology, is also a rotating device, but instead of a stiff metal disk-shaped substrate, it had a somewhat bendable plastic disk-shaped substrate.
Hard disks are primarily distinguished by (1) their size (2.5″ or 3.5″ in diameter), (2) their capacity (these days measured in terabytes), (3) by their rotational speed (most commonly 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM), and (4) by their hardware interface they present to the computer (e.g. SATA or USB 3.0, etc.) There are many other details that distinguish different hard disks, but these are the most relevant for consumer applications.
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Questions about hard disks' performance, issues, tips, and software.
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