How to Pronounce GIF As a Word

The correct pronunciation of GIF according to reputable sources

Speech bubbles with 'Giff' and 'Jiff'


GIF isn’t just an acronym anymore. These days, it's a real word used to describe animated images posted online and it's often a word spoken out loud in conversations, too.

If you're at all familiar with Tumblr, Reddit, Imgur, or any other social network for that matter, then you're probably familiar with the popularity (and fun) of GIFs. But, what exactly is a GIF, and how do you pronounce it when you want to actually say it?

How Do You Pronounce 'GIF' When You Say It Out Loud?

The first thing we need to make clear is that a GIF is a moving digital image file. This image format uses many different images that move quickly, making it appear like short video. GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. Nobody actually says “Graphics Interchange Format” out loud, however, and people don’t typically say the letters G-I-F out loud either (as opposed to saying L-O-L or W-T-F out loud). So, how should you say it?

Surprisingly, more people have moved toward pronouncing the acronym "jif" with a hard “j," like in "junk" or "jelly." Of course, this doesn't sit well with the people who are certain it should be pronounced with a hard “g” like in “good” or “great,” because after all, the word/acronym does start with the letter G.

No One Can Agree

You came here to discover the right way to pronounce "GIF," but the answer is more complicated than that. The truth is there's no right way to pronounce it.

Oxford Dictionaries Proves That It Goes Either Way

Oxford Dictionaries chose “GIF” as the word of the year in 2012. You can listen to the two popular pronunciations that Oxford Dictionaries includes by clicking on the sound buttons beneath the word.

Pronunciation Manual Also Takes A Neutral Stance

The video for GIF from the Pronunciation Manual YouTube channel is another popular source to check out. Like Oxford Dictionaries, Pronunciation Manual offers the two different pronunciations—spoken in the same video.

The Creator of the GIF Format Said It's Pronounced Like JIF

Can you really argue with the creator of the GIF format? Steve White told the New York Times that GIF should be pronounced with a soft "G," like the peanut butter brand. Says It Should Be Said With a Hard 'G'

Someone decided to create for fun to make a compelling argument for why GIF should be pronounced with a hard "G" instead of a soft "G." The website argues that despite the creator's intentions for it to be pronounced with a soft "G," it goes against the natural pronunciation of the letter at the beginning of any word. Examples of other words are used to back up the argument and the website even explains why exceptions to the rule, such as "gym" and "gem," don't count as good enough evidence.

GIF or JIF? You Decide

Since there really is no right way to say it and everyone can argue that their preference is correct until the cows come home, you might as well just keep pronouncing GIF the way you like. If anyone ever tries to tell you about not pronouncing it right, consider sharing this article with them.