Every once in a while, we can all be a bit grumpy, which means “ill-tempered or grouchy.” When someone is grumpy on a more regular basis or in a particularly argumentative way, they could be described as cantankerous. Cantankerous means “disagreeable to deal with; contentious.” Being four syllables, cantankerous is a loftier-sounding word than grumpy, which is an expressive word akin to a grunt and has its origins in the phrase “humps and grumps.” Cantankerous was probably formed from a Middle English word that meant “quarrel” or “contention.” A machine can be personified humorously as cantankerous if it does not operate smoothly, and similarly, so can an animal that displays opposition or irritableness.
It’s been said that a mind is a terrible thing to waste! To waste something can be to fail to use it, or to consume, spend, or employ it uselessly or without adequate return. Waste may be used with physical objects or with something more abstract, such as time, effort, or even one’s mind. When seeking a verb that captures an intentionally reckless use of one’s resources (including monetary), squander may be more apt. Squander means to spend or use (money, time, etc.) wastefully or extravagantly, and suggests willfully foolish expenditure, as in, “Instead of honoring his parents’ legacy, he squandered their money on parties and fancy cars.”
Something mutual is held in common or experienced between two parties, as in mutual friends. Similarly, reciprocal indicates a balanced relationship between two or more people, in which an act, thing, or feeling is given in return for another. Unlike mutual, reciprocal also carries the meaning of “matching or equivalent.” So a reciprocal promise may be made to ensure that both parties will maintain confidentiality about a matter. Often used in math, navigation, and grammar, reciprocal has a more technical implication of being one-for-one or the exact opposite or inverse of something, whereas mutual features in the world of finance or insurance when assets are shared (e.g., mutual funds).