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It's pronounced "jif" says GIF creator Steve Wilhite.

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#1 Crisp

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:14

An Honor for the Creator of the GIF

Among the thousands of file formats that exist in modern computing, the GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, has attained celebrity status in a sea of lesser-known BMPs, RIPs, FIGs and MIFFs. It was honored as a "word of the year" in 2012, and Tuesday night, its inventor, Steve Wilhite, will be accepting a lifetime achievement award at The Webby Awards.

Now, almost any fragment of digital culture can be spun up into a grainy, gratifying animation. GIFs provide a platform for nearly everything, it seems — from rapid-fire political commentary to digital art to small moments of celebrity intrigue.

Has any file format received more attention, more accolades (or had more fun) than the GIF?

Invented in 1987, today the GIF has become the aesthetic calling card of modern Internet culture.


Since retiring in 2001, Mr. Wilhite has led a quieter existence than his creation. He goes on RV trips. He built a house in the country with a lot of lawn to mow. He dabbles in color photography and Java programming. He uses e-mail and Facebook to keep up with family.

He is proud of the GIF, but remains annoyed that there is still any debate over the pronunciation of the format.

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


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#2 +virtorio

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:23

Good for him.
But he's wrong.

#3 HoochieMamma

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:24

Good, been calling it that since as long as I can remember.

#4 compl3x

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:24

It was honored as a "world of the year" in 2012



Damn. Now it's a planet too?

#5 ctrl_alt_delete

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:27

Hahah me and boss was going at it the other day bout this. He owes me $20 lol

#6 OP Crisp

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:27

Damn. Now it's a planet too?


My bad, re-wrote it to avoid the hyperlink. Should of pasted into notepad instead.

#7 Xahid

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:28

The long mystery is now solved, I was wrong pronouncing it as Gif :(

#8 Steven P.

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:31

I always said G-if as well, s'pose I'll have to say Jif from now on lol

#9 +devHead

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:32

Of course it's pronounced jif. Otherwise, this graphic would have no meaning:
Posted Image

#10 threetonesun

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:33

It's a hard g, I don't care what this guy says. It's GRAPHICS INTERCHANGE FORMAT, why on Earth would you abbreviate that as JIF. Next he's going to tell us that JPEG stands for Goint Photographic Experts Group.

#11 Yazoo

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:33

any other examples where a word starting with 'G' is pronounced as 'J'?

#12 Lee G.

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:35

I always pronounced it with a hard g. I didn't know it was meant to be pronounced 'jif' until I read this thread in 2006: http://www.neowin.ne...if-file-acronym

#13 thealexweb

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:36

I will continue to G-if, J-if just doesn't seen remotely right.

#14 Lee G.

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:36

any other examples where a word starting with 'G' is pronounced as 'J'?


Gerbil, giraffe, ginger, gin, Georgia, gym, genuine, gist, gem, gentle...

#15 Osiris

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:37

Should have spelt it with a j then, GIF with a G 4 life. Gonna get that tatooed up like a boss.