1. Character in Joss Whedon's Firefly.
2. The act of declining a proposition, delivering an insult, or placating an adversary with utmost poise, in a manner which allows the other party to either hear what they want to hear, or take the truth in the gentlest manner possible.
'What do you think? I bought it in the sale...!'
'I like red. Red is a lovely, warm colour.'
'Would you like to come up for coffee?'
'That's a very sweet thing for you to offer...'
'That's not a "yes".'
'It's not a "no", either...'
'How about we meet up again, some time?'
'Some time, definitely.' (very slight emphasis on 'some')
'Way to pull an Inara, back there! That guy couldn't tell if you were insulting him, or coming on to him. I don't think he'll be bothering us again, soon... until he works it out, at least.'