It’s Pronounced “JIF” not “GIF”?!?

Says Who?

Long hotly debated amongst techies and other nerds, the pronunciation of the acronym ‘GIF’ – Graphics Interchange Format – was addressed by its inventor, Steve Wilhite, at the 2013

Two peanut butter jars with knives animated

The word “gift” is the closest word to GIF, and it has a hard G. To pronounce GIF, just say “gift” without the “t”.

Source: How To Really Pronounce GIF

This is not up for debate, sorry:

how to really pronounce gifPerhaps it is just plain out stubbornness, having at one time, a long time ago when they were invented, been found vacillating between both usages, but coming to terms with the mass adoption & frequent usage of the appropriate pronunciation seems long past debate.

Let’s be clear however, it is NOT a debate, nor is it ever when it comes time to policing language, really. In fact history is littered with such traditional arguments toward both who gets to decide what new words are, and now even apparently how they are pronounced.

While let’s hope that we can all remember that placing such an emphasis on how it is pronounced, and then bolstering your argument with “Well the creator of it said…” is about the silliest idea in all of the modern age. Surely we don’t pronounce anything the way Shakespeare intended us to, now do we? Remember as WilliaGIF Button: I pronounce GIF with a Hard G encircling itms S. Burroughs has reminded us: Language is A Virus.

That being taken on its surface value, and employed as a maxim beyond perhaps what he intended, is to say that it changes, and mutates, is not constant or fixed. That as much power as people who run dictionaries have and problematic as they can be, that still means that it will be constantly updated. Now more than ever, and faster than ever before, because the unprecedented volume of both spoken & written word usage has eclipsed 4 millennia of using language and the written words in probably just the last year alone. After Guttenburg’s printing press took off, and literacy increased, wresting from the hands of scholarly monks their power to interpret, there is nothing radical about the idea that we are free to proscribe this as we see fit.

Even if in an interview setting or god forbid speaking on Television, and the style guide specifically proscribe the soft ‘g’ pronunciation, or in the former interview they corrected us, then by all means a furious diatrib…errr, debate would spring forth.

The problem with this rejoinder is that because he created it, and had the intention of pronouncing it like a brand that already existed, based on the mnemonic in their commercial of a widely known brand, does not or should not compel anyone to follow his suit. That is lunacy. In fact having worked with techies like him, and being admonished for all the appropriate usage for e-mail, or electronic-mail years ago, and getting into forward thinking linguistic debates. This usage, if you are being fancy, is where we ask why there is no argument over saying ə-mail. Why,because it is absurd on a prima facie case.



If you don’t still use the – to demark the e and the mail, then you should adapt to the commonly accepted usage of pronunciation of this acronym. Times change, and no creator ever stopped that. Imagine Alexander Graham Bell giving us advice on how to text today? HBD, WYD? Do stop short of acronym-ing everything, please, and stop with all the emoticons. *shakes fist in get off my lawn manner* 😉

The fact remains that you can pronounce it however you like, but don’t interrupt our thoroughly common usage with a declaration about the creator’s intentions. You look petty, and controlling, and not very interested in what I’m saying or even how we’re saying it. You are doing it to control something, or somebody, and that is not going to be us.

If you’d like to debate this linguistically :—

language_word share dakrolak

and then mispronounced them into canon





Featured Image Source: Steve Wilhite – IT’S PRONOUNCED “JIF” NOT “GIF” | Genius



  1. bensbitterblog · February 23, 2016

    I’ve always called it gif, you know how you are supposed to? I actually just use a made up word called Giftures for my blog every Friday.


    • dakrólak · February 23, 2016

      Love GIFTURES!


      • bensbitterblog · February 23, 2016

        I do them every Friday. It is my favorite to do because I don’t have to think a whole lot and everyone thinks they are funny. I almost want to start a production company that does exclusively 3- 7 seconds gifs.


  2. allthoughtswork · February 23, 2016

    Graphics is said with a hard G, so GIF is said with a hard G. The Comcast guys say it that way, the computer repair technicians say it that way, gamers say it that way, even my computer genius overlord ubernerd friends use that form. I ain’t arguing with ubernerds.

    In other news, emoticons are the Valley Girl language of the typist. I refuse.


    • dakrólak · February 23, 2016

      No one should ever argue you with ubernerds. As William S. Burroughs says: “Do not proffer sympathy to the mentally ill, it is a bottomless pit” quoting Nietzche obviously!


      • allthoughtswork · February 23, 2016

        Actually, my friend is very cool and has saved me hundreds of dollars over the years with his advice, alone.


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