The Great Debates 1: How to pronounce GIF?

Hey all, this is the first in a series “debate” threads.

Please don’t take them too seriously: they are meant to be as fun as they are serious.

The aim is to come up with funny, clever and creative responses to a proposition on some aspect of web design. Vote for your favorite answers with the button.

PM me if you have ideas for other topics. (I can think of a ton myself.)

Again, keep it nice, and have fun—and don’t hesitate to posts as off topic if necessary.

##Pronouncing ‘GIF’

Well, it stands for “graphics interchange format”. Its creators say it should be pronounced jif—even though the G is a “hard g” in “graphic”. That seems illogical to me. I’d argue that the only basis for choosing a hard or a soft G is the original word the letter comes from.

All the same, if someone can come up with a compelling counter argument, I’d change my view in a jiff.


Graphics not Jiraffics.


I know for certain that I’ve never used JitHub if you get the gist of what I’m saying.

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That’s one of the few english acronyms that is being pronounced correctly here I guess. :smile:

I tell ya, Italia, you got it all wrong. Your ancestors would be ashamed of you. The Romans only had the hard G, so the pronunciation of GIF wouldn’t have been an issue for them.

On a related note, if we were to make an acronym of CSS, would it be KISS or SISS? In other words, are you a kissy person, or a sissy? :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve always followed the KISS principle—you know … “Keep it Stupid. Simple!”

I don’t know about that. My latin is next to inexistant. But, I did notice that english latin and italian latin are very different (I’m talking about the pronunciation, and the source is Discovery Channel, so who could doubt that :smile: ). So maybe it’s just today’s anglosaxons that pronounce latin the wrong way? :wink:

By the way, a nice acronym for CSS whould be CESS (pronounced as the english word “chess” , yes italians have a soft “C” as well)

Indeed - CSS can be rather taxing…

Hah, in my experience most of them pronounce it the wrong way—being influenced by church Latin and just lazy speech in general.

And different again is Roman Latin, so to speak. I can assure you that the ancient Romans had only a hard G and hard C. As a stickler over these things, I always cringe when I hear Latin pronounced the modern way. But I gotta let go, I know … :slight_smile:

I pronouncned it Jif for years. But I read where the creator pronounces it like gift, so I’ve been trying to pronounce it that way. So now its just kind of a mix.

Do you mean God? That would seal the argument indeed. But as far as I know, the guy who’s credited with inventing the format is adamant that it should be Jif.

I just read the wiki you linked and looked it up… was completely wrong apperantly. WTC.

I have no idea what I read then, but I remember having this argument with a guy in my office and him shoving it in my face when we saw “gift” was right. Lol

If I recall correctly (and I cannot find a citation at the moment), there was a secondary implication with the specific pronunciation; The original designers intentionally wanted it to be JIFF because they hoped to imply it was not slow.

I have ALWAYS pronounced it as JIFF and intend to continue. In the English language there are far too many rules that have exceptions (defined by rules which also have their own exceptions). In that case there is NO SINGLE good argument for the choice of pronunciation either way.

You say Pajama and I say Pajama - Tomato or Tomato.


I say GIF as in gift - but as there’s only a small fluffy Tux and a couple of bears share my office, I’m unlikely to get into too much of an argument over it.


That’s how I always said it… but what do I know? English people always suprise me with weird stuff…


Indeed! We really need an alphabet at least twice as big as it currently is to properly represent all the sounds in English and avoid such crazy confusions.


In my language - English - “G” is pronounced “gee” :smile:

Mind you some folks do weird things with language - like “mathematics” shortened to “math”, instead of the correct “maths” because it’s a plural! If I said I’m going to “answer some thread on Sitepoint” you’d bollock me for bad grammar!

According to, the American way to pronounce GIF is

but they also list the British way as [quote] /ɡɪf/ [/quote]

Personally, I’ve always said GIF with a “g” not a “j”.
Till now, I didn’t know that people pronounced it “jif”. (JIF is peanut butter to me… :wink:)

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Another vote for “g”.

There is another image format that uses “j” - JIF (, so both being pronounced the same would be kind of weird to me.

I’ve heard it pronounced both ways, but I think mostly with a “g”, so I’ve always stuck with that.

I like the idea of these great debates :smile:

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This raises the second big question, how do you pronounce Jif? Commercials obviously are biased towards this so we can’t take the commercial pronunciation as law.

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It (or at least was) a cleaning product here very similar to ajax.