NewsThe Spin Cycle

Jif or Gif, how do you pronounce it?

By March 4, 2020 March 10th, 2020 No Comments

Call it the great Jif jaffe – or Gif gaffe!

Go ahead, pronounce “GIF.”  OK, now pronounce “Jif.”

If you used a “soft G” like in “jelly” to pronounce the popular peanut butter brand, you got it right. And if you went with a hard “G” like in “graphic” for those frequently shared looping videos, you got that right, too.  

That’s according to Giphy, the database most of us tap for that perfect image to punctuate our thoughts. 

Now, back in the day, the computer scientist who created GIF, Steve Wilhite of the popular online service CompuServe, indicated otherwise: GIF was meant to be pronounced as “Jif.”

Sticking to its effort to set the GIF-JIF record straight, and, er, spread the news, from their revisionist point of view, Jif, the peanut butter brand that is part of the J.M. Smucker Co., partnered with Giphy on a marketing campaign as part of National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day on March 1.

In his own statement, Giphy founder and CEO Alex Chung said, “whether you like your Gs hard or soft, let’s all share some fun and let peanut butter unite us in saying GIF and eating Jif.”

This  crunchy debate has been going on since 1987, when GIFs burst onto the scene.

In 2014, President Barack Obama famously went with the hard G himself in deciding how to pronounce GIF. “That is my official position,” he said at the time. 

As part of the marketing campaign, Giphy created a suite of GIF versus Jif .gif files. The companies are also promoting the #JifvsGIF hashtag.

However, you choose to pronounce it, the shorthand GIF is a more palatable name than when it is spelled out as Graphics Interchange Format.

Leave a Reply