How Do You Pronounce ‘GIF’ Anyway?

By Daniel Bean

May 22, 2013 2:14pm
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Image credit: Courtesy The Webby Awards

“It’s pronounced ‘JIF,’ not ‘GIF.’”

Those are the words of GIF creator Steve Wilhite, who finally settled the pronunciation debate Tuesday night as he accepted his Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Webby Award show in New York City, hosted by comedian Patton Oswalt.

That’s right, it’s said like “JIF” as in the “Jiffy” peanut butter or the “Jiffy Lube” car repair shop.

One tradition at the Webby Awards is that winners, which this year also included Kevin Spacey, Jerry Seinfeld, Ben Stiller and Fred Armisen,  are  allowed to make only  ”five-word speeches” when accepting their awards.

Rather than speaking his five words, Wilhite projected text on the big screen above the stage to tell us we’ve all been saying his 24-year-old file type wrong.  David Karp, the CEO of Tumblr,  which was acquired this week by Yahoo for $1.1 billion, presented the award.

The animated image file type (an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format) came to popularity in part due to its relatively small file size and ease at which it can be embedded into posts on forums such as  Reddit and blog-type pages on Tumblr. Usually extracted from video, a GIF will is often about half the frame rate of film, giving the animation almost a flip-book look.

Here’s a GIF of ABC News technology editor, Joanna Stern:

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Image credit: ABC News

Watch the video of Wilhite’s award acceptance below:

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