The GIF Debate: Is It GIF or JIF?

[ 49 ] May 22, 2013 |

You know those moving pics I have in my blogposts? Yes, the ones that look like the Harry Potter movies come to life. Those are called GIFs (which stands for Graphics Interchange Format) and I have a folder with over 1,400 of them. I’m talmbout this:

Twerk Team gif 2

There is ALWAYS an excuse for a twerk team GIF.

The interwebs has been having an ongoing debate on how it’s pronounced for YEARS. Some people say it with a hard “G” and some (like me) say it with the soft “G” à la “Jif” like the peanut butter. I think “jif” sounds better.

Well yesterday, the NYTimes published a story about an interview with George Wilhite, the creator of the GIF and at the end, they asked him how to pronounce it and he said.

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

gif or jif

END. OF. STORY. BOOM! IN YOUR FACE HARD ‘G’ PEOPLE! *jigs* It’s “JIF,” snitches!!! I’ont curr if it reminds us all of the peanut butter. PEANUT BUTTER IS DELICIOUS!

And you’re probably saying “how can the G be soft when it stands for ‘graphics?’” When has the English language followed logic 100%? WHEN?!? Through and Though and rough are all pronounced differently for no reason. EXPLAIN THAT!

I’ma call it JIF forever! *pelvic thrusts*

IDGAF Janelle gif

I’ont care I’m soft JIFFing on you!

So… how do YOU pronounce it?

And I fully expect World War GIF to break out in my comments because this is a controversial issue that we all have feelings about. By “all” I mean those of us who be on Tumblr ALLATAHM. Discuss!

Soft G Hard G gif

I’m with Bugs Bunny.

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Comments (49)

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  1. DMario says:

    man fuck that creator…i been saying GIF(t) since 97

  2. Moon says:

    Lol, I’ve always been a Hard G person. Thanks for schooling me.

  3. dianthe says:

    i’ve been pronouncing it with the hard G because of the word “graphics” and because i’m a mom, Jif is peanut butter – but honestly, as long as you keep posting that Janelle Monae .GIF, IDGAF how you pronounce it – GIVE ME LIFE!!!!!

  4. Jamin says:

    Soft “G” like the creator said. I’m normally correct about things and this validation is all I needed today. You can’t tell me ish else on this day.

  5. Helly says:

    Hahaha… is this another day-ta/dah-ta war? ;-)

    I’ve always pronounced it with the hard G. Doesn’t really matter one way or another to me, though. But I will say that “jif” does make me think of peanut butter, as you pointed out :-)

  6. Aponda says:

    I didn’t know it was pronounceable. It’s an acronym. Let me find I’m the only one calling it a G-I-F file.

  7. Merline says:

    First time I the heard the ‘hard G’ was a few weeks ago listening to a podcast. I felt like an idiot then. I had never heard anyone pronounce it IRL before. I was like “wayment, I’ve been pronouncing it as ‘jif’ all this time”. I felt stupid. NOT NOW SUCKAS! I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG. Bow down. Haha! I kid.

  8. I reject this!!! ;) #hardGlife

  9. I’m with @DMario. I subscribe to the GIF(t) logic. (It’s pronounced like Gift without the ‘t’). Besides, aren’t GIFs one of the greats GIFTs the internet has ever given us?!?!

  10. Preston Moore says:

    I think that this definitely proves, and we can all agree that English is a terrible language and makes no sense whatsoever.

    That said, I really don’t care what’s official or not. You can take my Hard G when I’m dead! #GIFRebellion

  11. ShannieBooBoo says:

    ” Through and Though and rough are all pronounced differently for no reason. EXPLAIN THAT!”

    *GASP* Shole is!!

    • TMaryMack says:

      this made me cackle harder than I care to admit. I can imagine your face when you realized! Thank you ShannieBooBoo

  12. KemaB says:

    Mama spells it GIF imma pronounce it Gif you know like presents Cause thats what they are animated gifts that bring us delight and cackling laughter #TeamHardG we outchea

  13. Mafa says:

    BREAKING NEWS: GIF creator Steve Wilhite says it’s pronounced “jif.” BREAKING NEWS: Steve Wilhite can go fuck himself.

  14. It’s obvious Steve wasn’t an English major. How the hell you get “JIF” our of “GIF” when the “G” stands for “graphics” which has a hard “g” sound is beyond the scope of pronunciation? I mean…where they do that at???

    I hear ya Steve… Imma let you have this…..but how dare you sh*t on the OED?!!!! Nah that’s just going too damn far……

    I am here for the OED and it’s use of common-sense. #EnglishMajorsUnite

    • Wayne says:

      Acronyms need not mirror their source words. Witness the aeronautics in NASA, or even modem (MOdulate/DEModulate)

      Besides, we all remember the GIF (jiff) – JPEG wars of the early to mid 90s

  15. jake says:

    Thanks Scott!
    Luvvie, GIF me a break!

  16. KC says:

    Now I haven’t been emotionally invested in this here war but I use the hard G and now that I know that is wrong it makes me sad because I just love that it sounds like ghetto way to say gift. (gifff)lol Kinda like breffast instead of breakfast. :-(

  17. Brianna says:

    So I’ve actually been pronouncing it right this entire time? Huh.

  18. Cheekie says:

    LOVE tha Gif peanut butter pic!

    I was SO glad when me and like the other 2 people I know who says it with the soft G was correct the whole time! Got the BASED creator on my side! *struts like a bawse*

    Anywho, now that that’s solved, next up is the creator making t-shirts with animated gifs on them. I been needing this forEVER since I want so many of the gifs I’ve seen on a tshirt. Animated.

  19. glamazini says:

    “I’ont care I’m soft JIFFing on you!” #done

    I’ve always said JIF so my universe remains intact.

  20. David says:

    Why not Joogle it.

  21. Danielle says:

    I say soft g, like the peanut butter! GIF!

  22. McNairian says:

    Gift, gin, git, GIF…what would Grammar Gesus do?

  23. Deja says:

    Just. Last. Week. my coworker condescendingly told me that it was gif as opposed to the laughable way I say jif. Im going in on him tomorrow…with all the receipts.

  24. RozB says:

    Choosy bloggers choose JIF! HA! Ummm…back to my homework…

  25. HowlingBanshee says:

    This is literally one of those things I’ve always wanted to know, but was too afraid to ask. Nine times out of ten, I my thinking voice would pronounce it “jif.” But that tenth time, Thinking Voice would second & third guess herself, like “I wonder if that happy crying girl knows she’s jif famous — Gif famous? Gee Eye Eff famous? Sh!+, how do you pronounce it?”

  26. Jerica says:

    I’m upset. I’m still saying it with a hard G!

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