very bad in degree or extent
He was in
severe shock and suffering from third-degree burns.
offering little or no hope
Soda was awake by then, and although he looked stony-faced, as if he hadn’t heard a word the doctor had said, his eyes were
bleak and stunned.
After my shower, I put on some clean clothes and spent five minutes or so hunting for a hint of beard on my face and
mourning over my hair.
a young offender
On the front page of the second section was the headline: JUVENILE
DELINQUENTS TURN HEROES.
Soda began sleeping with me, and it stopped
recurring so often, but it happened often enough for Darry to take me to a doctor.
a notable achievement
“. . . anyway, I was walking around downtown and started to take this short cut through an alley”—Two-Bit was telling me about one of his many
exploits while we did the dishes.
"Exploit" is used here to describe more of an adventure than a notable achievement. It also has a humorous tone, since Two-Bit's story is notable for what didn't happen rather than for anything he did.
a person who is rejected (from society or home)
Moral: What’s the safest thing to be when one is met by a gang of social
outcasts in an alley?
“Oh, hell, I know it,” Randy half-sobbed, “but what can I do? I’m marked chicken if I punk out at the rumble, and I’d hate myself if I didn’t. I don’t know what to do.”
being in or verging on a state of crisis or emergency
The nurses wouldn't let us see Johnny. He was in
“I won’t be able to walk again,” Johnny started, then
faltered. “Not even on crutches. Busted my back.”
having a difficult and contrary disposition
Dally was his usual mean,
marked by a lack of concern
"Uh ..."—he sounded very
casual—“how’s the kid?”
"Casual" and "blithe" can be synonyms, but "blithe" also means "cheerful and carefree." This is not how Dally actually feels, but he is trying to keep the mood happy to show that he's not hurt, and he's also trying not to show how worried he is about Johnny.
think about carefully; weigh
“We just left him,” Two-Bit said, and I could tell that he was
debating whether to tell Dally the truth or not.
A debate usually takes place between two or more people who discuss the reasons for or against something. But here, Two-Bit is debating with himself. The Old French root is "battre" which means "to fight"--although this is not the case here, some debates can sound more like fights than discussions.
declare untrue; contradict
deny this, so I went on: “I mean, I got an awful feeling something’s gonna happen.”
deficient in quantity or number compared with the demand
You’re a nice kid, Ponyboy. Do you realize how
scarce nice kids are nowadays?