GIF Creator Wants You to Pronounce It This Way

by Christopher Freeburn | May 22, 2013 11:14 am

computer_tower_keyboard_630_flickr[1]The image compression file type GIF has been around since 1987. So has the debate about how to pronounce it[2]. At least among computer geeks.

Now the man who invented GIF has spoken out, hoping to resolve the issue once and for all. Steve Wilhite, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award on Tuesday for his contributions to computing, says that GIF is pronounced with a soft “g,” this sounding like “jif,” the Daily Mail notes.

While it may seem like a minor point outside of technical circles, the debate has spilled across countless online forums and blogs for years, with some arguing for a hard “g” sound, making GIF sound like “gift.” Hoping to strike a balance, the Oxford English Dictionary — surely a reliable source — says both pronunciations are fine.

Wilhite disagrees, calling the estimable OED “wrong.” It’s “Jif,” he insists.

However it is pronounced, the GIF format continues to thrive online where it has become a staple of image transfers across the Internet.

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