The verb challenge is used a few different ways. It can refer to summoning another person to a contest of skill (I challenge you to a duel!), or to taking exception to something or calling it into question (She challenged the wisdom of the plan). The latter sense is more confrontational than competitive—which brings us to today’s synonym: confront. To confront something is to face and deal with it boldly and directly. One might confront an individual, which suggests communicating verbally with someone and holding them to account, or confront a problem or issue, which suggests taking action to effect change.
Fair warning: today’s verbs have a hard time staying on track. The first one, ramble, means “to talk or write in a discursive, aimless way.” The synonym digress means “to deviate or wander away from the main topic or purpose in speaking or writing.” The two terms are close in meaning, but to digress, there must first be a straight course or defined path (of thought or argument) from which to depart. Rambling, on the other hand, requires no initial purpose or point, and implies slightly more free-form or perhaps even incoherent expression.
If someone is cranky, they’re ill-tempered or in a bad mood. You might feel cranky, for instance, if you don’t get enough sleep (we relate!). The synonym ornery is even more unpleasant. This adjective emphasizes irritability that borders on meanness. Someone who is described as ornery is highly disagreeable and maybe more than a little stubborn. While both terms can describe temporary states of grouchiness, ornery is more likely to be used of a person (or animal) that is prickly, uncooperative, and cantankerous no matter how much sleep they got.