''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.