S.E. Hinton quickly fills the reader in on the slang used by the greasers and the socs. Of course two of the most obvious terms used throughout the book is 'greaser' and 'Soc'. Ponyboy describes greasers as being "almost like hoods; we steal things and drive old souped-up cars" (3). On the other hand, 'Socs' is an "abbreviation for the Socials, the jet set, the West-side rich kids" (2). Another slang term crops up when Ponyboy gets jumped by the socs on the way home from the movie theater in the first chapter. Two-Bit tries to make him feel better by telling him that it looks "tough:"
Tough and tuff are two different words. Tough is the same as rough; tuff means cool, sharp--like a tuff-looking Mustang or a tuff record. In our neighborhood both are compliments (12).
The greaser persona is all about maintaining the appearance of being 'tough.' All of the boys grow out their hair and slick it back to make themselves look cool and to impress potential girl friends. Greasers like to wear their hair long and dress in blue jeans and T-shirts.