Chances are you’ve been pronouncing the term “GIF” wrong all this time


The creator of the popular file format GIF has sparked debate among users online after confirming it should actually be pronounced “Jif”.

Steve Wilhite announced the true pronunciation of the file format in an interview with the New York Times.

He said that despite being proud of creating the file format, he is annoyed that people are unable to get its name right.

“The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations,” Wilhite said. “They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”

Wilhite’s announcement sparked debate on social media among linguists, grammar enthusiasts and people whom one can only imagine have far too much time on their hands.

One person tweeting on the matter said: “I refuse to accept this”.

The GIF file format or Graphic Interchange Format was invented by Wilhite in 1987 and allows short video clips, images or graphics to be easily embedded onto a web page or into an email.

However, despite Wilhite’s confirming how “GIF” should be pronounced, the debate rages on among users with websites created on pronouncing GIF with a hard G or with a soft G.

Last year, TIME Magazine declared the 3-D Cat Jump as the most popular GIF of 2015.




  1. Sorry Steve. You pronounce it wrong. GIF is an acronym for Graphic Interchange Format, not Jharaphic Interchange Format. Beside, Jif is a peanut butter (and far too sweet for my taste!).

  2. @TonyC: “GIF is an acronym for Graphic Interchange Format” – yes it is, just like it says in the article.

    And I’ve been pronouncing it “jif” for nearly 30 years.