A primer of Mines talk

''Hey, diamond beak, this guy's cold-spiking.''

If you should ever hear this, don't panic. It might actually mean something.

Last year visiting professor Roger W. Wescott, a linguist, compiled a handbook of slang from the Colorado School of Mines. Putting his ear to the ground and tapping students for their pet colloquialisms, he came up with a list of expressions reflecting local folklore. Some excerpts:

Diamond beak - a professor who gives no A's (an intensification of the common expression ''hard-nosed'').

Duck-squeezer - an environmentalist (perhaps a variant of ''duck-hugger,'' ''duck-lover,'' or the like).

Engineering estimate - a wild guess.

The Great Terrain Robbery - the so-called ''sagebrush rebellion'' against federal control of public resources in Western states.

Rock-licker - a geologist or geology student.

Snow-snake - a fictitious serpent that wraps itself around skis, making the skier fall.

Cold spike - to copy another student's homework directly, without any effort to assimilate or understand the material.

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.