GIF Creator Settles the Great Pronunciation Debate

May 22, 2013 9:27 am

It was one of the great digital debates … How do you pronounce GIF?

While some said it like “Gift” without the T on the end, others went with “JIF,” like the peanut butter brand.

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Well, at the Webby Awards on Tuesday night, the creator of the GIF (which stands for Graphics Interchange Format), Steve Wilhite, set the record straight.

During his acceptance speech for winning the lifetime achievement award, “It’s pronounced JIF, not GIF,” flashed onscreen behind Wilhite. (There was a five-word limit to speech length.)

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When the correct pronunciation was revealed, the audience could be heard cheering and laughing.

Wilhite debuted the GIF in June 1987 while working at CompuServe. In 2012, it became the “Word of the Year” by the Oxford American Dictionary.