Language may be described as mean when it is
beneath the dignity of the subject or the rank of
the speaker. Some orators fall into serious error
in their eagerness to avoid this fault, and are afraid
of all words that are in ordinary use, even although
they may be absolutely necessary for their purpose.
There was, for example, the man who in the course
of a speech spoke of “Iberian grass,” a meaningless
phrase intelligible only to himself. Cassius Severus,
however, by way of deriding his affectation, explained
that he meant Spanish broom.