The GIF Debate: Is It GIF or JIF?

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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  1. DMario
    May 22, 2013 at 10:45 am

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

    • May 22, 2013 at 11:10 am

      LMAOO!!! Steve is getting cussed out all over the webs right now.

  2. May 22, 2013 at 10:46 am

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

  3. May 22, 2013 at 10:48 am

    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!!!!!

    • May 22, 2013 at 11:00 am

      Ahahaha! Ain’t it, janelle gets it in, I was dying laughing.

    • May 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

      Hehehe. I do enjoy that janelle gif thoroughly.

  4. May 22, 2013 at 10:50 am

    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.

    • May 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

      Basically! *hits my wop*

  5. May 22, 2013 at 10:52 am

    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 🙂

    • May 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

      Oh that’s a war? I thought it was “day-ta.” Lawd. We gon start another. lol

  6. Aponda
    May 22, 2013 at 11:04 am

    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.

    • May 22, 2013 at 11:08 am

      You might be. LOL. Because Jpegs are pronounced “jay-PEGS” not J-P-E-G.

      • Aponda
        May 22, 2013 at 11:13 am

        I’ll never be one of the cool kids. http://i.imgur.com/U9twH0z.gif

        • May 22, 2013 at 11:15 am

          You are a cool kid for finding that awesome gif. WIN!!! lolol

    • Monica H
      May 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      I second that, I’ve always called it J.I.F. and jpegs (jay-pegs). Well, now I know.

      • May 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm

        Don’t let nobody tell you different.

    • May 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      Your not! I always considered myself neutral and called it a G-I-F too! I wasn’t taking sides in that war!

  7. Merline
    May 22, 2013 at 11:47 am

    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.

    • May 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      BOW DOWN, HARD Gs!!!

  8. May 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I reject this!!! 😉 #hardGlife

    • May 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      And I reject you rejecting it. lolol

  9. May 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    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?!?!

    • MrPig
      May 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      And yet you pronounce “gin” with a soft g…it just doesn’t matter

      • May 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm


    • May 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      GIFs ARE one of the greats GIFTS of the internet and I love them for their JIFness! :-p

  10. Preston Moore
    May 22, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    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

    • May 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      “You can take my Hard G when I’m dead! #GIFRebellion”

      *comes to you funeral and steals your hard G*

  11. ShannieBooBoo
    May 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm

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

    *GASP* Shole is!!

    • TMaryMack
      May 23, 2013 at 11:46 am

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

  12. KemaB
    May 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    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

    • Elita
      May 23, 2013 at 9:52 am


  13. May 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm

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

  14. May 22, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    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
      May 22, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      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
    May 22, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks Scott!
    Luvvie, GIF me a break!

  16. KC
    May 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    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
    May 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm

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

  18. Cheekie
    May 22, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    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. May 22, 2013 at 4:07 pm

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

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

  20. David
    May 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Why not Joogle it.

    • TMaryMack
      May 23, 2013 at 11:49 am

      I said the same thing! hahahaha #burymeahardG

  21. Danielle
    May 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm

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

  22. May 22, 2013 at 6:10 pm

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

  23. May 22, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    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. May 22, 2013 at 6:48 pm

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

  25. HowlingBanshee
    May 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    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
    May 23, 2013 at 8:02 pm

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