back to article FLABBER-JASTED: It's 'jif', NOT '.gif', says man who should know

The internet - and especially the recently-sold content sausage machine Tumblr, epicentre of the animated gif rebirth - is reeling today at the news that when referring to image files formatted as .gifs one should pronounce it "jif". That's according to no less an authority than Steve Wilhite, the man who invented the Graphics …


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  1. AndrueC Silver badge

    Beware of geeks bearing GIFs.

    1. Darryl

      er, I THINK you meant 'Beware of jeeks bearing JIFs'

      1. Spudbynight

        On a related note the cleaner "JIF" had to be changed to "CIF" back in the 90s.

        The reason, Spanish speakers couldn't pronounce Jif.

        True story, bro.

    2. Jim in Hayward

      Mr. White

      is jay. a total guvenile.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was extremely disturbed to discover when Americans pronounce the letter "Z" 'zee,' that is how we in Blighty used to pronounce it. The pronunciation "zed" came to be adopted during the war because when using radio communication the letter "zee" is very often misheard as the letter "C" (pronounced "see" of course). When pronounced "zed" such a mistake is far less likely.

      "But, but, that can't be." I spluttered on hearing the truth. "You mean that awful big bird on Sesame Street has been right all along and my kindergarten nurtured sense of superiority is has been built on imploding foundations."

      I have been shaken to the core and have yet to recover.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Phonetically Z is pronounced as Zebra not Zeeeeeeeeeeeeebra. Again the Americans hijack a language and claim it as there own.

        One point to mention here, when the US voted on a national language there were only three votes away from speaking German. Gott in Himmel!

        1. Martin Silver badge

          ...and claim it as THEIR own.


          1. Rick Giles

            @ Martin Re: ...and claim it as THEIR own.

            So, do you speak English or The Queen's English? Come off your high horse.

          2. Rick Giles

            @Martin Re: ...and claim it as THEIR own.

            And besides, we'll all be speaking Chinese soon anyway. So quit your bitchin'

        2. MacGyver


          So the G stands for Jraphics? Makes perfect sense. How about he just gets over it, and just pronounces it like the rest of us do. Here's why rocket scientist inventor guy.

          "Did you get the `JIF`?"

          "No, we have plenty of peanut butter in the cabinet."

          "No, the `JIF` image file I sent you?"

          "Oh, yes I did. By the way, what does JIF even stand for?"

          "Why GRAPHICS IMAGE FILE my dear."

          "Oh, so when we have to say `JIF image file` we are really saying `Graphics Image File Image File`?"


          "And that is better or smaller why?"

          "That is what the guy who put the J in GRAPHICS wanted."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            It stands for Graphics Interchange Format.

            At least make sure your facts are right, otherwise your facepalm is just for yourself.

          2. hughca

            Re: JRAPHICS

            I believe that's "Graphics Interchange Format"

          3. Anonymous Coward

            Re: JRAPHICS

            Exactly, G as in Graphics so GIF not JIF. Just because Mr Whatever invented the format doesn't make him a language expert right?! :o)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          No, damnit. There was NEVER any such vote to make German the official language. There was, once, way back at the beginning, a vote as to whether to have the laws printed in German in addition to English. That vote was close, but it was voted down and never came up again.

          This seems to be a common misconception in Europe. I first heard it from a German, and now from a clueless Brit who oviously lacks a good grasp of his own language - or do "there" and "their" have different meanings in British English than they do in American English?

          1. Trustme

            "British English than they do in American English"

            British English is simply English. You wouldn't say someone speaks "German German" just because there are other deformations of the language in other countries. The fact there are American and other bastardisations of the language doesn't change the fact that English as spoken by the English (read British) is still simply English. When you refer to "English" you are default referring to the English spoken by the English (read British), it's only when you talk about one of the variant bastardisations of the language you need to qualify it with "American" et al.

            1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

              German German, usw.

              Trustme, on the contrary, one would say that someone speaks German German, when it would be necessary to contrast it to other national variants of German. This usage even exists in German itself: try searching for either „deutsches Deutsch“ or „das deutsche Deutsch“ in your preferred search engine.

              Thus, one could just as well say that someone speaks English English, for the same purpose of contrast. Consider the section on shall and will in Fowler’s The King’s English. These two words were, and are, completely interchangeable in Scots English, Irish English, US English, and beyond, but had (if not still have) distinct definitions in English English. Now, if you were to repeat that last sentence without the adjective English, so that it ended just in English, the contrast would not be nearly so clear.

          2. PJI


            "different ... THAN...? Aaaaargh.

            As any English speaker knows, it is "different FROM" and "similar TO". Just think, would you say, "X differs FROM Y" or "X differs THAN Y" or "X differs TO Y"? Americans do use a lot of German and Yiddish (a sort of mixed up German plus others) grammar. American is, after all, English spoken by foreigners. As English speakers, we can still speak English or try any rate.

            1. Babbit55

              Re: Pardon?

              May I just point out that is would actually be pronounced JIF in the English language since the G is followed by a I as in Giraffe.


              1. sdb

                Re: Pardon?

                Yes, obviously, because it is a giraffe interchange format.

                That makes me giggle (but it takes a real belly laugh to make me jiggle).

              2. Ed_UK

                Re: Pardon?

                "May I just point out that is would actually be pronounced JIF in the English language since the G is followed by a I as in Giraffe."

                Yebbut - Brits would refer to someone as "an old git" and USians might "git going" - all with a hard-G. Maybe those are exceptions, but they're the first ones which come to mind. Now, Ginger...

            2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

              “Americans do use a lot of German and Yiddish grammar.”

              PJI, which areas of German and Yiddish grammar do we Yanks use in our variety of English? Nouns always title-cased? Verbs always second in a clause? Perfective verb prefixes? Separable compound verb prefixes punted to the end of a clause? Adverbial particles?

        4. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          phonetic pronunciation of Z

          Anonymous Coward of 06:48 GMT, phonetically, Z is the voiced alveolar fricative; as such, the phonetic pronunciation of Z is neither /zɛd/ (“zed”) nor /ziː/ (“zee”), but simply /z/.

          Again the Americans hijack a language and claim it as [their] own? What exactly is the count of languages that we sinister Medioleftpondians have hijacked and claimed as our own, by your reckoning? Are we holding these languages for ransom, demanding Yankgeld to let their lawful owners spell and pronounce words as they see fit?

          Regarding your other point, this newly minted novelty nation has never had an official language, although a number of the constituent states do. As Anonymous Coward of 08:15 GMT mostly noted, Pennsylvania in the late 18th century nearly approved having a German translation of its laws printed, as at that time native German speakers represented a significant proportion of that state’s population.

      2. Anonymous Cowerd

        "that is how we in Blighty used to pronounce it"

        No it isn't.

        explanation here

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: explanation here

          "Cookies, elevator, french fries, truck; don't say 'petrol' or you suck."

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: explanation here

            "don't say 'petrol' or you suck."

            I have heard that for some people, that's the only way they can afford to get petrol these days. Although I also heard that it gives you gas.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        A Kindergarten? In the UK? Something smells fishy here...

      4. Dom 3

        Wikipedia notes "in American English, its name is 'zee' /ˈziː/, deriving from a late 17th century English dialectal form" and also points out that everybody else in Europe (more or less) uses a similar form. IOW the British version is the original. In this case at any rate - we've all gotten used to the idea of the opposite being true.

        The American military used "zed" in their phonetic alphabet for a while:

        which may have given rise to the story.

      5. goldcd


        -ise versus -ize

        I'd always assumed that 'ise' was 'correct' and 'ize' was just something the yanks had made up to annoy us.

        Seemingly not that simple and the switch from "ize" to "ise" enforced (rather than being seen as a preference to argue over between Oxford and Cambridge) by the EU definition of English..

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If he had wanted it to sound like Jif he should have spelt it Jif and not Gif. Flaming Americans, they think they invented the English language...

      1. Rick Giles

        @Anonymous Coward 06:44

        No, we didn't invent it. God knows if we had it wouldn't be so full of all the double mean words that sound alike.

        As, is such, I have to correct just about everyone that I meet because of that hard G Soft G business when they pronounce my last name.

        Thank you for donating such a wonderful language to the world.

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Gif as in giraffe.. Nothing American about that

      3. RonAnon

        No, we didn't invent the English language, but we made it relevant. It's because of us that English is the world's business language. So, in that light, it's color - not colour. Get it right. And, stop replacing words that end in "a" with an "er" sound, and vice versa.

    5. The Serpent

      Never look a GIFt horse in the mouth

      I always thought it was pronounced 'jif', but I learned I was labouring under a misunderstanding as I was first told it stood for 'General Image Format', so it made sense to me to pronounce the G as J (i.e. Jeneral, not General)

  2. Anonymous Coward


    At school everyone thought Sega was pronounced "See Ga". Imagine our surprise when Sonic came out and when you turned the game on up flashed the logo and "Say Ga" came out the speakers.

    1. Shades

      Re: Sega

      Oddly I, and everyone else I knew at school, pronounced it as "SayGa". Perhaps pronunciation differences, prior to the release of, Sonic was a regional thing, or my friends and I, pronouncing it correctly, were bigger geeks than we thought?

      1. Uncle Siggy

        Re: Sega

        "or my friends and I, pronouncing it correctly, were bigger geeks than we thought?"

        One of the qualifications of being a geek is not being aware that you are.

      2. Lallabalalla

        Re: Sega

        Or perhaps you're that much younger and the truth was already out there?

        1. Shades

          @Lallabalalla. Re: Sega

          "Or perhaps you're that much younger and the truth was already out there?"

          I wish I was, but unfortunately not. Like the OP, I too pre-date the release of Sonic.

    2. firefly

      Re: Sega

      I get riled at people who think Nike, both the sporting goods manufacturer and the Greek goddess of victory, only has one syllable.

      1. M Gale

        Re: Nike

        Nike has only one syllable.

        Niké on the other hand...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nike

          Expats to USA might have heard: 'Putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable'?

          Ah language. Putting the em-FAAA-sis on the wrong sil-a-BELLLL...

          Toe-may-to...Toe-maaaaaa-to... Po-tay-to..Po-taaaa-to

          1. AGR

            Re: Nike

            As this particular expat Yank says to his English wife: I'll start saying tomahto when you start saying potahto.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Nike

              The pronunciation 'tom-ah-toe' has a more appropriate sound to it when talking about a fruit... just try saying it in an effeminate accent and you'll see what I mean!

      2. Rick Giles

        @firefly Re: Sega

        Ahh, the consistency of English. So how do you pronounce - LIKE, HIKE, BIKE, PIKE, MIKE, DIKE, TIKE, etc?

    3. M Gale

      Re: Sega

      Of course if you're following the same daft rules as elsewhere on the thread, you should be pronouncing it "Serga".

      Service Games, and all. Wonder if they still make pinball machines for the US army?

    4. James Henstridge

      Re: Sega

      I pronounced it "See Ga" too, but that's because all the TV ads in Australia at the time pronounced it that way too.

  3. Tzael


    GIF - Graphics Interchange Format...

    Are we all supposed to say 'jraphics' from now on?

    1. Code Monkey

      Re: Acronymity...

      I tried Joojling it but it wasn't clear.

      1. Tom 35

        Re: Acronymity...

        No you don't Joojle it, you search using Joojle. *

        * another failed attempt to tell people what to say.

    2. Richard IV

      Re: Acronymity...

      we surrealists pronounce it giraffics.

      1. Simon Harris

        Re: Acronymity...

        Do they cross the road at giraffic lights?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. VinceH

          Re: Acronymity...

          No, the giraffics in question are quite old - though with a bit of dna gijjery pokery, they've been recreated and can now be found in giraffic park.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Acronymity...

      Nope, you're supposed to say "What the hell are you using that bloody format for? Oh for stupid little animated images that bugger up layouts and get very irritating when constantly seen out of the corner of your eye!".

    4. rcorrect

      Re: Acronymity...

      Jraphic Park - Extinct computers brought back to life.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Acronymity...

      Graphics Interchange Format"

      Oh, do give the guy a break, it's not like he's into jraphix or something....

  4. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    One hell of a thing

    to have tiff about.

    1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
      Thumb Up

      Re: One hell of a thing

      I see what you did there...

  5. The First Dave

    He might have invented the file described by the acronym, but that doesn't mean he knows anything at all about the English language.

    "Graphics" has a hard G, therefore so does the acronym. End of story.

    1. bg2b

      And while we're at it, let's also correct all the idiots saying "jay-peg" for JPEG. It stands for "Joint Photographic Experts Group", so it's obviously pronounced "juh-pheg".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I think you mean juh-fej

        1. stratofish

          You mean Joffegg?

      2. AbelSoul


        Or for those of us in certain parts of Scotland:


      3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: idiots saying "jay-peg"

        I disagree. There's a fairly well-established convention that when adjacent consonants in acronyms can't be pronounced as a composite, the leading consonant(s) get their alphabetic pronunciation. Hence jay-peg, bee-dos, etc.

        I don't know about you, but I stopped naming letters "a, buh, cuh,...juh" at the age of six.

      4. Lallabalalla


        JPEG is not an acronym, i.e. it's not pretending to be a word, so you can pronounce it any way you see fit.

    2. ratfox

      Brave attempt to use logic!

      What about LASER? It means Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The S of Stimulation is unvoiced, yet the S of LASER is voiced.

    3. Steve the Cynic

      ""Graphics" has a hard G, therefore so does the acronym."

      As an indicator of acronym pronunciation, the original pronunciation of the letters that form the acronym is not reliable. Consider "laser", commonly pronounced as if spelled "laZer". If you look back at the origins and apply your logic ("Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation"), it should be pronounced as it is spelled, with a soft "s" sound in the middle, but that produces an anomalous pronunciation pattern - a single "s" sandwiched between vowels is normally pronounced as if it is a "z". Oh, and the "a" should be pronounced short like in "hat" - this sounds like the "a" at the beginning of "amplification" .

      So by your rule "laser" should be pronounced as if it is spelled more like "lasser"

      The conventional pronunciation of a sequence "gi" at the beginning of a word is as if it is "ji", although "git" is one of a number of exceptions. ("Gi" for the angry white pajamas worn by martial artists is merely a loanword whose spelling hasn't been anglicised.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Consider "laser", commonly pronounced as if spelled "laZer""

        Only by Americans. And morons. It's correctly pronounced something much more like 'lay-sir'.

        1. sisk

          Only by Americans. And morons. It's correctly pronounced something much more like 'lay-sir'.

          Actually as English lacks a formal body to define such things (unlike some languages) all regional dialects pronounce things correctly within their own dialect. (Granted some regional dialects are more intelligent sounding than others. While it may be correct in the regional dialect 'Ya'll git in the truck. We're goin' ta the fishin' hole.' doesn't exactly make the speaker sound like a PhD candidate.)

          Therefore even the rather absurd pronunciation of 'football' as 'soccer' and 'mutant rugby' as 'football' by Americans is correct when in America. Though personally I think 'handegg' is a more appropriate pronunciation for the mutant rugby game they play over here.

          1. Jan 0

            @sisk "football as soccer"

            Short memories in the UK? When I was growing up in South London, a "football" was something you kicked, "soccer" was a game that you played. (A contraction of Association Football.

            1. sisk

              Re: @sisk "football as soccer"

              @Jan Actually I've never been to the UK. In fact I've rarely been out of Kansas. I'll have to take your word for it.

          2. Chris Beach

            What? We do have a formal body, getting on a bit now bless her. Her Majesty The Queen. We *should* be speaking the Queen's English you know? :)

            However HRH pronounces the word is the correct way.

            1. M Gale

              "However HRH pronounces the word is the correct way."

              Ho? Ow hinteresting.

        2. Duffy Moon

          Interesting. I've never heard anyone who's not German, pronounce it "lay-sir".

          1. Intractable Potsherd

            @Duffy Moon

            I'm not German, and I tend towards the softer "s" in my pronunciation of "laser", though I use a less pronounced "lay" sound at the beginning - I don't know the format to write it, but the final "ay" sound is flattened - a bit like the sound of "é" in French. I also pronounce a certain Formula 1 driver as "Alonso", not "Alonzo".

            Oh, and back on topic - it is obviously a hard "g" in "gif".

          2. khjohansen

            Probably germane

            A German would pronounce it laaser - german vowels being somewhat more consistant!

            ... now, try *FallschirmjägerGewehr zwei-und-vierzig... ;>

        3. Michael Strorm

          AC: "Only by Americans. And morons."

          As Mark Twain (*) might say "...but you repeat yourself." (^_^)

          (*) Yes, I'm aware of the irony of using a quote from an American to insult Americans. Not my fault that Twain was a moron. ;-P

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        "The conventional pronunciation of a sequence "gi" at the beginning of a word is as if it is "ji", although "git" is one of a number of exceptions."

        Whilst I appreciate the method to your madness, I'm not sure that the exceptions don't out-number the rule-followers in this case.

        Giant, giraffe, giblets, gym, ...

        Gift, give, gimbal, gimp, gibbon, ...

        And pause for a moment to consider a related dispute. The giga- prefix comes from a Greek word with a hard 'g' which in English is 'giant', with a soft 'g'.

        I think we just have to go with established practice on this one, so it is hard cheese to this guy and hard 'G's to the rest of us.

        1. Benchops

          slightly off topic

          "I" before "E" except on Old MacDonald's farm.

          Is it "VIL-HITTY"?

          1. khjohansen

            Re: slightly off topic

            . .. Except for weird, their, heir, veil etc.

        2. Kubla Cant Silver badge


          I say gigabyte with an initial hard {g}, but there seems to be a community for "jigger-bite".

          1. badger31

            Re: giga

            Like one point twenty-one jigger watts?

            1. Someone Else Silver badge

              Could it be that...

              ...after all these years of poking fun, that Emmet "Doc" Brown was right?

          2. Danny 4

            Re: giga

            I've always pronounced giga with a J as in giant, gigantic etc. Isn't that the logical pronunciation?

            Does anyone know the pronunciation for the Latin (or is it Greek?) source for these English words? Has the sound of the first G transmuted on its way into English?

            Oh yeah, GIF is a hard G - isn't JIF a household cleaning product?

            1. Jim in Hayward

              Re: giga

              JIF is also peanut butter here in the states.

            2. Irony Deficient Silver badge


              Danny 4, “logical pronunciation” is almost oxymoronic in English. ;*) English “giga-” and “gigantic” (and thus “giant”) come from the same ultimate source, viz Greek γίγας [gigas], meaning “giant”. In the case of “giant” and “gigantic”, the etymological route was Greek γίγας (genitive γίγαντος [gigantos]) → Latin gigas (genitive gigantos or gigantis*) → Vulgar Latin → Old French geant → Middle English geant → Modern English. Old English had independently imported gigantis from Latin as gigant, for use as both noun and adjective, with the first G pronounced according to Old English expectations, as modern Y; but gigant gave way to “giant” around Shakespeare’s time. The native Old English word for “giant” died out long ago, but Professor Tolkien “resurrected” it by coining an artificially evolved form of it: ent.

              For “giga-”, the path is shorter: Greek γίγας → Modern French giga- → Modern English giga-. In French, the first G is pronounced according to French expectations, as English zh, which perhaps influenced the alternative pronunciation of “giga-” with a soft G in English.

              The Ancient Greek gamma and the Latin G were both pronounced like a hard G in modern English.

              As others have pointed out, Jif in North America is a brand of peanut butter, and its advertising slogan at the time, “Choosy mothers choose Jif!”, undoubtedly influenced Wilhite’s preferred pronunciation.

              * — Gigantis is a bit more “native” for Latin. An analogous situation in English would be the two choices for the plural of “stigma”: either “stigmata” (reflecting the original Greek plural form) or “stigmas” (using the native English plural form).

              1. Roger Varley

                Re: pronunciation

                Ironically, in modern greek as spoken here in Cyprus, gamma at the start of a word is pronounced 'y'

            3. AGR

              Re: giga

              They changed the cleaning product to Cif so Spanish-speakers could pronounce it…Could you imagine cleaning things with Hif?

              1. Pondboy
                Paris Hilton

                Re: giga

                So, how to Spaniards pronounce GIF then? It could be GIF, JIF, HIF or CIF - all very confusing.

                I once went to a Chinese restaurant in the Netherlands where the waiter had a lisp. Being Chinese, he had trouble pronouncing his L's and R's, speaking Dutch he got his J's, G's and H's mixed up and the lisp pretty much screwed up his S's too. I might call him and ask how he thinks it should be pronounced.

                Oh, and on the Gigabyte/Jigabyte thing - do people really say "I've got 8 Jigs of RAM???" Surely not!

          3. Daniel B.

            1.2 Gigabytes!

            Um... isn't "jigabyte" the correct pronunciation? Of course, "jigawatt" for Gigawatt was popularized by "Doc" Brown at least a full decade before we started handling Gigabytes, so probably the pronunciation stuck from those days. Then there's the thing that I'm both an English and Spanish speaker, and Spanish pronunciation of "Gigabyte" uses the Spanish-J pronunciation of G as well.

            I actually consider the hard-G usage in Giga- as the odd one.

            That said, GIF is hard-G. JIF is Peanut Butter (or was it a cleaning product?)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The conventional pronunciation of a sequence "gi" at the beginning of a word is as if it is "ji", "

        apart from the common English word "gift" which shares three of its letters in the correct order with the acronym in question. We're not mispronouncing the word, we're stopping where its been cut-off.

        (and the Germans have "Giftig", I wonder how they pronounce .gif ?)

        1. Chairo

          @ AC 18:57

          and the Germans have "Giftig", I wonder how they pronounce .gif ?

          The first part is pronounced just the same as the English word "gift". Thus .gif is usually pronounced like "gift" without the "t".

    4. Shasta McNasty

      Stephen Fry

      I think the Reg should ask Stephen Fry for his opinion...

    5. Glenn Booth


      @TFD - It's got nothing to do with the English language. It's a name, and you can name things whatever you want - in any language you want. Or even in no language at all (like The Moron Formerly Known as Wotzisname). On top of that, it's an acronym, so all bets are off.

      He named it to echo the name of some peanut butter or other.

      the 'G' is soft, like in Gin.

      Suck it up.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Peanut butter

        So lets call it Sunpat then!

  6. Parax

    So this is a bit of a conundrum.

    When exactly did it become Jraphics?

    1. pewpie

      Ever since Jraphic Park came out.

    2. Ben Norris

      Say JPEG

      Say Photographics

      Did you say Jay-Peg or did you say Jay-Feg? The argument that it should be pronounced like graphics is invalid.

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Why would I say "Jay-Pheg"? "Photographics" begins with a "p", therefore, "jay-peg".

  7. Captain Save-a-ho

    25 years too late

    Given how long people have been pronouncing GIF with a hard G, this announcement seems really belated (stupidly so).

    My first thought was of Harvey Korman trying to correct Mel Brooks: "It's Count de Monet!"

    1. TheRealRoland

      Re: 25 years too late

      It's pronounced 'Fronkensteen'!

    2. 4d3fect

      Re: 25 years too late

      ...."That's Headley."

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: 25 years too late

        How do you know he hasn't spent 25 years saying this?

    3. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Re: 25 years too late

      I've been using a soft "g" for it since the early 90's. I remember reading somewhere in the docs for CompuShow (a popular DOS image viewer back in the day...) that it was pronounced with a soft "g", so that's what I've stuck to. I always assumed those using a hard "g" were newbies.

      1. Nate Amsden Silver badge

        Re: 25 years too late

        me too, I don't remember where I heard it first pronounced, but I have always been soft g, since early 90s too.

        1. Not That Andrew

          Re: 25 years too late

          And I've assumed the pronunciation is hard G since the early 90's since my daily routine has never included talking about file formats.

          1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

            Re: 25 years too late

            "my daily routine has never included talking about file formats."

            Then why are you on a computer-nerd site talking about file formats? ;)

  8. Alan Bourke

    Yeah just like REM

    didn't stand for Rapid Eye Movement. It's GIF with a hard G, Marathon bars, Opal Fruits, world without end, amen.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are we supposed to call JPEGs Gay-Pejs now as well?

    1. DavCrav

      Since it stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, I think Jay-Pheg is more correct, for some suitable definition of 'correct'...

      Oh, and CMOS should be pronounced commoss, according to this. Personally I call it cee-moss. Anybody?

      1. hplasm


        Yoint Fotojrafix Eexperts Jroup, noe?

        1. VinceH

          Re: Surely...

          "Yoint Fotojrafix Eexperts Jroup, noe?"

          You are the Swedish Chef, and I claim my five pounds.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No. It's cee-mose.

      3. Intractable Potsherd

        Why would it be "com-mos"? You only speak what is there - it is a letter "C" ("see") followed by letters that form a a sort of word: "MOS". Therefore, "see-moss" or, at a push, "see-mose" or "see-moz".

    2. Stevie

      Are we supposed to call JPEGs Gay-Pejs now as well?

      It is my understanding that you can't ask and they aren't obliged to answer if you do.

  10. pctechxp

    I hear

    they are planning to change it to cif

    I'll get my coat

  11. LesB


    Maybe that's what he thought he was playing with?

  12. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Thats a cleaning fluid

    that's now been renamed after a venereal disease....

  13. Bobthe2nd

    nah mate

    Jif is what you clear stuff with my gran still has some in the cupboard, gif is a picture format... end of

    1. Duffy Moon

      Re: nah mate

      I thought Jif was lemon juice packaged in a plastic lemon for people too lazy to squeeze lemons.

      I also think it's odd that Linux is supposed to be pronounced "linnux" and not "lynux" since Linus is pronounced "lynus". Perhaps Linus Torvalds pronounces his name "linnus" - I have no idea.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: nah mate

        Just call it Finux and then no-one needs to worry.

        Although even there, to pronounce it like that, surely it needs a double 'n' in the middle?

        PS - conjratulations to all the El Rej commentards for the quality of the gagsjajs in this thread.

        I suppose at least El Reg don't have to care, as Register = Rejister anyway.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: nah mate

        > Perhaps Linus Torvalds pronounces his name "linnus" - I have no idea.

        He does:

        I am pretty sure Red Hat used this as a sound card test file back in the day.

        1. Steve the Cynic

          Re: nah mate

          "I am pretty sure Red Hat used this as a sound card test file back in the day."

          It did. I remember playing it to, um, test the sound setup on my Red Hat boxes, a frighteningly long time ago.

      3. peyton?

        Re: nah mate

        In America, Jif refers to peanut butter. End of story.

        Linux is a combination of Linus and MINIX, so it depends on which "i" you want to pronounce ;)

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: nah mate

          Just asked our graphics guy and he's as 'American' as they come. He said jif... Only Europeans say gif according to him. He could have already read the story though. Hard to trust those graphics guys.

          1. Code Monkey

            Re: nah mate

            "Just asked our graphics guy and he's as 'American' as they come. He said jif... Only Europeans say gif according to him. He could have already read the story though. Hard to trust those graphics guys."

            But Americans pronounce "autumn" as "fall".

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Up

            Re: nah mate

            >Only Europeans say gif according to him.

            In my experience, when Americans say "European", they usually mean those other people that aren't American.

            So that would be the rest of the world then, AKA the vast majority of the population of the world.

            1. Don Jefe

              Re: nah mate

              No. I assure you the 'American' lexicon is quite filled with distinctive names for the origins of most any people.

              1. M Gale

                Re: nah mate

                "No. I assure you the 'American' lexicon is quite filled with distinctive names for the origins of most any people."

                Italian American, Spanish American, Latin American, Irish American, Native American...

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: "most any"

                  The 'American' lexicon is also full of utter nonsense, mate.

        2. SuperTim

          Re: nah mate

          I pronounce it like in the word "while" as heard here!

        3. cheveron

          Re: nah mate

          > In America, Jif refers to peanut butter. End of story.

          Not quite. GIF files are named after Jif. If you accept any pronunciation other than the one intended by the author that makes you a post-modernist. If you're ok with that, then that's ok.

        4. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: nah mate

          In America, Jif refers to peanut butter. End of story.

          You clean the kitchen with peanut butter? Must be messy.

      4. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: nah mate

        Well, if you wanted to pronounce it lynux, you should have spelt it lynux, or had a vowel-lengthening 'e' somewhere, linux is a short 'i'.

        1. M Gale

          I want to roll my own distro

          Maybe an Ubuntu or a Mint with the backgrounds changed or something.

          I'll call it "Linux Linux", just to play with people's heads.

        2. stratofish

          Re: nah mate

          "Well, if you wanted to pronounce it lynux, you should have spelt it lynux, or had a vowel-lengthening 'e' somewhere, linux is a short 'i'."

          Like 'pilot'?

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: nah mate

        "too lazy to squeeze lemons"?

        Jif ( "h-iff" for the Spanish? ) tends to last a little longer than having the real thing left about, not get used and start turning that nasty brown colour fruit loves to go when it's bored and feels unloved!

    2. Justice

      Re: nah mate

      Bizarrely, it's now called CIF not JIF.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: nah mate

        And in Turkey CIF is pronounced JIF.

        1. dajames Silver badge

          Re: nah mate

          And in Turkey CIF is pronounced JIF.

          While in Italy CIF is pronounced CHIF.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Gif with a hard G it is then.

    Now, how the shuddering hell is one supposed to pronounce 'Wilhite'? Will-height? Will-hitty? Whhil-hityay?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gif with a hard G it is then.

      Indeed. Why should we take any notice of someone who can't spell his name righit?

  15. Richard 120

    Not the first time

    Popular opinion generally drives language though, it's hard to change the status quo once it's in general use.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think the Internet is unanimously in agreement that Steve Wilhite is a Jit.

    1. DavCrav

      That's a bit harsh. He's just wronj.

    2. graeme leggett

      Wouldn't worry - it's not as if anyone's going to gaol over it....

      1. Elmer Phud

        re: Wouldn't worry - it's not as if anyone's going to gaol over it...

        Bugger -- I just LOLed

        1. Intractable Potsherd

          Re: re: Wouldn't worry - it's not as if anyone's going to gaol over it...

          That should be "Bujjer".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > I think the Internet is unanimously in agreement that Steve Wilhite is a Jit.

      I think you'll find that he's a gerk

  17. Shrimpling

    Does anybody use jif's any more?

    I thought people used p'nungs instead these days because they can be higher resolutions than jifs and still have the transparent backgrounds?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does anybody use jif's any more?

      I see your p'nungs, and raise you a ping.

      1. Tom Wood

        Re: Does anybody use jif's any more?

        PNGs (pinjs?) can't be animated. Jifs can.

        cf. tumblr.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Does anybody use jif's any more?

          PNGs can't be animated. Jifs can.

          er, yes, they can But support amongst browsers is sporadic.

          1. Tom Wood

            Re: Does anybody use jif's any more?

            er, not really. As the page you linked to states:

            The Animated Portable Network Graphics (APNG) file format is a non-standard extension to the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) specification

            It's not really PNG, but a separate extension of the format.

    2. Steve the Cynic

      Re: Does anybody use jif's any more?

      "I thought people used p'nungs instead these days"

      I see a lot of PENGs on the Internet myself. Or maybe pee-enjees, depending on how whimsical I'm feeling.

    3. Fibbles

      Re: Does anybody use jif's any more?

      P'nungs are used for transparency these days because they allow for a per-pixel percentage based opacity. Jif allows you to pick one colour that is entirely transparent which means it doesn't support anti-aliasing effects.

      Jif is mostly used for animation these days because you can pretty much guarantee support across every device. There are other ways of course, such as using JavaScript, Flash or Canvas.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apologies to Izzard

    Ah, you Americans ... we say "Toe-mar-to", you say "toe-may-to" ... you say "erb", we say "herb" ... because it's got a fucking "H" in it ...

    Having recently seen the great man, I couldn't resist :)

    1. Stevie

      Re: Apologies to Izzard

      Alnwick. Leicester. Bicester.

      Having read the road signs I couldn't resist. 8oP

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: Apologies to Izzard

        Quite right. In England, although it is spelt GIF, we pronounce it Chumly-Marchbanks.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apologies to Izzard

        Reminds me of the time in Sheffield when a Septic came to me with a map, wanting directions to "Loo-gah-bah-roo-gah". Oh, he meant "Luf'bra".

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Apologies to Izzard

          Did he want to go via Beau Chef or via Beecheef?

        2. Intractable Potsherd

          Re: Apologies to Izzard

          Just as well he didn't want to go to the place near Huddersfield spelled "Slaithwaite", and pronounced "Slawit".

      3. Magister

        Re: Apologies to Izzard

        How about Woolfardisworthy?


      4. JimmyPage


        I saw that and had this brief flicker in minds ear ...

        "Kettle, Klutch, Kings Bollege Bambridge. Ah, silly bunt !"

        proving that Monty Python were the inspiration for KDE

      5. Fibbles

        Re: Apologies to Izzard

        Having lived in Leicester for a number of years I can assure you that most of the population both pronounces and (sadly,) spells it 'Lesta'.

      6. Disturbikus

        Re: Apologies to Izzard

        Ahhhhhh .... Bicester

    2. jay margo

      Re: Apologies to Izzard

      Ah you Brits, you say "toe-mar-to" ...even though it doesn't have a fucking R in it. (and don't you mean "toe-mar-toe"?)

    3. pr783

      Re: Apologies to Izzard

      The American pronunciation is more like "toe-may-do".

      The "herb"/"erb" thing is funny, though doesn't really make a lot of sense because it's not like we pronounce the "h" in "honour"... and I think "erb" was the original pronunciation (taken from French), although if you go back enough centuries, all the "h"s in French were originally pronounced, so in that sense, "herb" with "h" is original.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Apologies to Izzard

        And we also say ghoti.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: Apologies to Izzard

        > The "herb"/"erb" thing is funny,

        Strange thing is that when I hear an American pronounce 'erb it's like they're making some kind of pronunciation statement. It seems usually very overdone.

        A particularly noxious example is Dr Crusher from ST:TNG who has to say the word on a number of occasions.

        I suspect that it is correct pronunciation (like 'otel) but it sounds kinda wrong.

        1. Duffy Moon

          Re: Apologies to Izzard

          Not to mention pronouncing buoy as "boo-ee". I fell about the first time I heard that.

          Herb I can sort of understand, but the American pronunciation of human as "you-man" is puzzling.

  19. Steve Brooks

    And here I thought I only had trouble pronouncing Asus, or is that Asoos, jrrrrr jive me back my jee.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      And if yer from Wisconsin,'s "Cheese Is Christ".

  20. Stevie


    Apparently he invented the Jraphic Interchange Format then. I don't suppose he mentioned that he lifted the encoding algorithm from Unisys without asking? Thought not.

    Daft twat.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    You guys are just gealous!

    Simply because you couldn't come up with this brilliant business strategy which will put the .gif format right back on the map:

    • Change pronouncement of product.
    • ???
    • Profit!

  22. Lunatik

    Hard G, Mr Wilhite (what sort of name is that anyway?)

    And I'll fight anyone who says otherwise.

    Same for folk who say "led" instead of Ell-Eee-Dee.

    And folk who say "Snezz" instead of Super Nintendo.

    If that's wrong I don't want to be right.

    1. Sorry, "Sorry that handle is already taken" is already taken.

      Re: Hard G, Mr Wilhite (what sort of name is that anyway?)

      Folk who say "Snezz" are surely pronouncing the acronym SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System.)

      Would it be OK to say "Sness"?

    2. SuperTim

      Re: Hard G, Mr Wilhite (what sort of name is that anyway?)

      What's your take on people who say "LCD Display" then?

      1. Richard 120

        Re: Hard G, Mr Wilhite (what sort of name is that anyway?)

        Re: LCD Display

        That's different they're just suffering from RAS Syndrome

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: Hard G, Mr Wilhite (what sort of name is that anyway?)

          When there's an LCD display it makes it easier to enter your PIN number.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Hard G, Mr Wilhite (what sort of name is that anyway?)

        They must work for the Dept. of Redundancy Dept.

      4. MJI Silver badge

        Re: LCD Display

        No it is LCD Panel or LCD Monitor or LCD TV

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Irrelevant, in a relevant sort of way

    What, you mean.....spell 'bolour' with a K?


    Kolour. Oh thank you, I never thought of that. What a silly bunt.

    1. Omgwtfbbqtime

      Re: Irrelevant, in a relevant sort of way

      Seems appropriate for some reason....

    2. Richard 120

      Re: Irrelevant, in a relevant sort of way

      Thanks, now I'm giggling maniacally to myself.

      Khaki, Kettle, Kings Bollege Bambridge

  24. Laie Techie


    I pronounce GIF with a hard-g to distinguish it from that other graphics format, the JIFF.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: JIFF?

      You mean JFIF?

  25. Jim Carter

    I'm suddenly reminded

    Of Mr Doovde from Fonejacker...

  26. Richard 31
    Paris Hilton

    Cleaning products


    Does this mean that over time its name will change to CIF to be in line with European cleaning products?

  27. Tom_

    Right then

    From now on, I'm going to pronounce it "kjife".

    And by "from now on" I mean "until about four o'clock".

  28. Parax

    I think this is all some sort of Gif-Gaff

  29. mark l 2 Silver badge

    What do you expect, he is an American, they invented the English langauge.

  30. User McUser

    The correct pronunciation is "P N G"

    [This space left intentionally non-blank.]

  31. Battsman

    I don't give a ---- what Steve says...

    If the acronym stands for Graphics Interchange Format, you'd have to be a complete twat to pronounce it with a "J" and I don't give a ---- what twats say or think.

    ergo Steve is a twat and I don't give a ---- what he says.

  32. Tommy Pock

    Inventors shouldn't get to name their own inventions.

    "Because it's SUBmerged in a MARINE environment, I've called it my going-under-the-water-safely-device." - Leonard of Quirm.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Let's not get everyone started on 'Sequel' either...oh wait I just did.

    1. Code Monkey

      "Sequel" every time - unless referring to "Microsoft Squeal Server".

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        I believe "sequel" reflects the fact that it was originally Structured English Query Language.

        But in my experience, Oracle users say "sequel" because it's easier to say "sequel-plus" and "P-L-sequel". Sybase and Microsoft users say "S-Q-L" because it's easier after "Transact".

  34. Justin Pasher

    Pronouncing acronyms

    I'm more confused by the people that feel that an acronym has to be pronounced using the same hard/soft letters as the words it stands for. Using that logic, take these examples:

    ASCII - Do you pronounce it uh-ski, since "A" stands for American?

    ICANN - Do you call them ih-can, since "I" stands for International?

    ... just to name a few

    1. Tom Wood


      I spose Amercians can't even pronounce American properly.

    2. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Pronouncing acronyms

      "ah"-merican is how I'd say American anyway. But I'm British, what do I know?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pronouncing acronyms

        So, how would you pronounce Colorado?

  35. Greg D

    This explains...

    ...why they changed the name of Jif cleaning cream to Cif.


  36. This post has been deleted by its author

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    folk who say "Snezz" instead of Super Nintendo.

    I always pronounced it as "What do you mean we can't play Sonic?"

  38. Mr. EMan

    It's Pronounced Pittsburra, Pennsylvania

    If you invent it, you can decide how it's pronounced. If it's spelled G-I-F and pronounced ba-na-na, so be it. I can't seem to pronounce Edinburgh (or even Edinburjh), so what does it matter?

    1. PassingStrange

      Re: It's Pronounced Pittsburra, Pennsylvania

      You can decide, but you're very lucky if anyone takes any notice. Mostly the larger community ignores you and forms its own consensus through usage and repetition. If the result doesn't happen to match what you wanted - tough.

      I'm afraid that's how language works, Mr Wilhite - if the world says "ghif", "ghif" it is. Your opinion simply doesn't count.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's Pronounced Pittsburra, Pennsylvania

      What about "Hen3ry"? I seem to recall Mr. Lehrer saying that the "3" was silent.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Eadon?

    Let me help with this animated Windows jif:

  40. chiller

    My "what a dick" detector went off the scale when I read this article.

  41. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Jaffics Interchange Format?

    1. VinceH

      Now that just made me think of Jaffa Cakes.

      There's probably a good joke to be made out of the idea of a Jaffa-cake Interchange Format, but I've no idea what it is. Although it probably has a smashing orangey bit in the middle.

      1. M Gale

        Jaffa-cake Interchange Format

        I'm sure that's a long rectangular prism shape. Usually made out of cardboard.

        There's an extension to the format that allows the transfer of up to a yard of jaffa cakes at once, but it's usually only available around Christmas and Easter.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Jaffa-cake Interchange Format"

        Teal'c is not amused.

  42. Sargs

    And we were supposed to pronounce SCSI as "Sexy"

    ... but that didn't happen either.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    However, due to pronunciation problems...

    They're changing the extension to .cif soon.

    Mine's the raincoat.

  44. Lee D

    It's a GIF, with a "ger". Anything else is just breaking the most used rules of English.










    I'm hard pressed to think of an English word beginning with "gi" that is pronounced "ji". About the only one I can find is "gibbet" or "ginger", which seem to have come either from French, or which aren't consistent with their etymological pronunciations / spellings of old. 99% of the time, it's "ger".

    And, sorry, but "jif" just sounds stupid, even if you aren't used to that being a cleaning product. Particularly when the G is for Graphics. Instruct someone to drop down a list of file format... "GIF" and they'll go to G. "JIF" and they'll go to J (and end up on JPEG!). JFIF, now that I grant you is a J. But it's also pretty unpronouncable (Jay-Fifth).

    I don't really care what he thinks. It's about 20 years too late and "GIF" now means "animated image I see on Tumblr because it's allowed and is smaller for short clips in 8-bit that have been converted from MPEG", and not much else. And there hasn't been a change or an extension to the GIF format since 1989, PNG basically knocked it out of the ballpark and surpassed it in everything but animation (and APNG is technically superior, because GIF animation is a MESS, but unused because GIF is "good enough").

    Every time someone gets pedantic over the pronunciation of a made-up word, I feel it's my duty to take the opposing position.

    SCSI being "scuzzy" still annoys me.

    PXE being "pixie" I hate (but it does allow jokes about "pixie UNDI's").

    SATA is still, definitely, "Sarter" (not "Satter").

    And FLV is a "floov" in my opinion.

    You have to have a way to pronounce these things, and if you've never seen them before, you will pronounce them simply. And thus, NOBODY who speaks native English will naturally try to pronounce GIF as JIF without having heard that from some idiot first.

    1. pewpie

      Is that a who gottle of gin? Or gust a jlass?

    2. Darryl

      RE: SATA is still, definitely, "Sarter" (not "Satter").

      Where'd all those R's come from?

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: RE: SATA is still, definitely, "Sarter" (not "Satter").

        all the Rs

        Think of the differences between "castle" and "bath" north and south across the UK.

    3. Ben Norris

      The next thing that will blow your mind is that Gigabyte is also meant to be pronounced Jigabyte. Hence the 1.21 Gigawatts quote from Doc Brown.











    4. M Gale

      Funnily enough, I look at "ger" and think "geranium", "germanium", "German" and "Geronimo".

      Or Gerald.

      In fact "Gertrude" is about the only "ger" word I can think of that pronounces things in the same way as gif.

      Yes, gif. Jif is what goes in pancakes. Especially on Jif Lemon Day.

      1. Disturbikus

        Ah but your forgetting Tony the tiger's famous quote "Theyyyyy're gerrrrrrrrrraphically interchangeable"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Gilbert, Gifford, Gordon, Girton

        girth, girl, gizzard, giggle, gird

        but not Giacomo, Gironde, gipsy or gin.

    5. Stevie

      SATA is still, definitely, "Sarter" (not "Satter").

      Round here it is pronounced "SAY ta". Rules of English. First vowel says its name. (Mrs Shuttleworth, Parkgate Infants Indoctrination Centre and Internment Facility).

      1. khjohansen

        Re: SATA is still, definitely, "Sarter" (not "Satter").

        ... As in "water", "father" and "famous"?

        A few vowels short of a full set.

        Ar'll git mei kööt!

  45. jay margo

    There's another reason we don't say "jif"

    Over here in the Untied States we have a very popular (and very crappy) peanut butter called Jif, which existed long before GIF files ever occurred to Mr Wilhite. If you say "jif file" to me you might as well be saying "peanut butter file".

  46. Disturbikus

    Cue Graham Chapman:

    "Lucky we didn't say anything about the dirty JPEG"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      1. davidp231

        Sounds Klingon....



  47. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Throat Warbler Mangrove

    or is that another bloody programming paraglider?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So, tell me everyone...if you pronounce GIF with a hard G, how do pronounce Gigi? Hard G as well?

    It's a soft G because there's a I after it, and GIF is pronounced phonetically (not based on the meaning of the abbreviation).

    1. Richard 120

      Re: Gigi

      Are you some kind of cheese eating surrender monkey?

      It's a hard G because it's English.

    2. Darryl

      Re: Gigi

      "It's a soft G because there's a I after it" - Just like in Git, Give, Gift, Gimp, Gig

  49. cheveron

    Giraffe or Jiraffe?

    There is no "correct" pronunciation.

  50. pr783

    Acronyms' pronunciations are not based on the original words

    Why does everyone think that? It's never worked that way.

    ROM isn't "Rome". WYSYWIG isn't unpronounceable. CUNY isn't pronounced with an "s", even though it's the City University of New York.

    Normally, a C before E, I, Y, or a G before E, I, Y, is pronounced soft - like S or J respectively. That said, there are so many exceptions (to the G rule especially) - "get" and "give", for instance - that it's difficult for Team Jif to rely on the rules of the English language to support their case.

    But all these people saying that "Jif" means we have to say "Jraphics" are lunatics.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Acronyms' pronunciations are not based on the original words

      ....and that is why Asdic is pronounced "Sonar"

    2. Stevie

      But all these people saying that "Jif" means we have to say "Jraphics" are lunatics.

      Says the commentator with a serial number for a name. Wubble, sir (or madam), wubble!

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm saddened

    where is Eadon having a go at windows in a completly unrealted post? C'mon boy, your slacking....


    Nah, just not quite right...

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And we're to take the word of someone whose own surname appears to be incorrect?

  53. Miffo

    Logic and opinions don't control pronunciation ...

    ...just like spelling.

    The one that is "correct" is the one that people use. A dictionary will change if enough people spell something a certain way. This normally upsets certain types of people. :-)

  54. Steve I

    I didn't know there was a debate...

    ...I've always pronounced it 'jif'.

  55. scruncher
    Thumb Up

    Jigger my giblets

    I've never heard so much gibberish. I've always pronounced it Jif and I'm Brijish. I'm just pleased to see the word 'acronym' being used rightfully for once!

  56. Mostly_Harmless Silver badge

    it's Gif I tell you

    When I select File->Open in my copy of PaintShop Pro, it offers me a variety of file formats, including...

    CompuServe Graphics Interchane (.gif)

    JPEG - JFIF Compliant (*.jpg, *.jif, *.jpeg) I'd take that as meaning JIF is a different type of file format to a GIF.

    Also Graphics (that being what the G stands for" is pronounced as a hard G, and not as a j)

  57. ecofeco Silver badge


    So I was right all along!

  58. Piro Silver badge

    Honestly, I don't care if the inventor calls it "jif"

    The G means Graphics, hard G is a more comfortable way to say it, language evolves, deal with it.

  59. Alasdair Russell

    Say what you see

    At the Webbies this guy puts up his 5 word message as:

    It's pronounced "JIF" not "GIF"

    surely the sane response is

    Then why's it spelt "GIF"?

  60. A A

    As a former CompuServe employee...

    I can tell you that everyone that I worked with at CompuServe pronounced it with a soft G.

    1. Stevie

      Re: As a former CompuServe employee...

      Compuserve? Didn't that have valves in it when it was relevant?

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Stevie (was: Re: As a former CompuServe employee...)

        The word you were looking for is "tubes". As in "vacuum tubes". Named after the lack of air pressure therein. "Valves" shunt fluids about.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Stevie (was: As a former CompuServe employee...)


          valves shunt flows

          and thermionic valves shunt electrons.

          1. jake Silver badge

            @AC:10:11 (was: Re: @Stevie (was: As a former CompuServe employee...))

            They are still vacuum tubes, no matter how you squint at it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AC:10:11 (was: @Stevie (was: As a former CompuServe employee...))


              Tubes = US

              Valve = UK

              Try travelling out of your back water and learn how the rest of the world speaks

  61. Herby

    Choosy mothers chose JIF

    Sorry, its an American ad for peanut butter, and the brand is 'JIF'.

    Me? hard G for me!

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: Choosy mothers chose JIF

      So my memory *wasn't* off track! JIF immediately made me think about peanut butter, even though I haven't seen JIF since 2001...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Choosy mothers chose JIF

        Lucky you, Daniel. My GF and her kids like JIF.

  62. Someone Else Silver badge

    Tumblr's DOOMED (more so than they think...)

    On this side of the pond, where no corporate entity ever met a lawsuit they didn't like, we may now be submitted to the spectacle of Tumblr being sued by a peanut-butter company.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Tumblr's DOOMED (more so than they think...)

      Tumblr haven't even got a pronounceable name. And should be sued for cruelty to consonants or not paying for their allotted number of vowels first.

  63. Ben Norris

    It was always 'jif'

    It is amazing that even in the face of irrefutable evidence of the way it should be pronounced, people still prefer to stubbornly defend their incorrect way rather than admit that they were mistaken.

    Yes there are words like giant and gifts that could lead you to pronounce it either way, but as soon as you find out the way it is supposed to be said then you are a fool to continue saying it incorrectly.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: It was always 'jif'

      Just tell that to the French who still will insist on saying le weekend. Just because they're too lazy to say fin de la semaine like good little boys like they're supposed to.

      Although I was a fan of the officially approved click for online. Many websites label their buttons with cliquez, which is a bit icky. Whereas the non-stolen-from-english option is tirez. Which means fire/shoot (as in gun).

    2. Stevie

      Re: It was always 'jif'

      If it annoys Ben Norris, I'm for it. Gif gifgifgifgfifgifgifgifgifgfifgifgifgifgifgfifgifgifgifgifgfifgifgifgifgifgfifgifgifgifgifgfifgif

  64. David Glasgow

    chronosynclastic infundibulum?

    I read the same story months ago. Did it result in anyone changing pronunciation?

    He might as well write an anti glacier book instead..... (or a pro-jlacier book).

  65. davidp231

    Wasn't JIF....

    ...a popular cleaning product now known as CIF? (because it's called that elsewhere (most of Europe I believe) - us in the UK had to follow suit). How long before we see animated CIFs?

    On another note.. jiddejey jiddejey joo.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wasn't JIF....

      Bring back Marathon bars and Dime bars. Snickers and Daim are just wrong.

  66. heyrick Silver badge

    “They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”

    Want it said with a J? Then spell it with a J, twat.

    It is completely logical to say GIF - hard G, like Google or gotcha or perhaps even the word it is supposed to represent, Graphics.

    You say the acronym in full, Graphics Interchange Format, there is nothing in there that implies a soft-G pronunciation other than pretentiousness. Wiki expands on the reasoning: something to do with a peanut butter brand/advert (it, itself, spelled with a 'J', note) which would mean bugger-all to anybody not from America.

    1. Ben Norris

      Re: “They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”

      Your logic is incorrect. You don't say JFEG instead of JPEG do you?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: “They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”

      How do you say the word Giraffe then?

      There are plenty of instances where words and names starting with GI are said JI.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: “They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”

        Yes, there are words with a soft G. However to take an acronym from a hard G word, pronounce it 'differently' because of an in-joke, then complain when those of us that pronounce it logically...

        Still, it is a non-issue for me, .PNG FTW. ;-)

  67. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    I always pronounced it "jif"

    I always pronounced it "jif". The thing is, though, I used them back on the '80s on Compuserve, and so did not actually talk to anyone (as opposed to reading text) who knew what a GIF was for like 10 years. They of course pronounced it "gif" (like "gift" without the "t"). I didn't realize there was a single developer who had a definitive pronounciation. Welp, I guess I was right then hahaha.

  68. graeme leggett

    thanks be to my local library's subscription to the OED

    I can reveal that the pronounciation is recorded in the lexicographer's literature as

    Brit. /dʒɪf/ , /ɡɪf/ , U.S. /ɡɪf/ , /dʒɪf/

    which I understand to mean that it thinks we Brits say "jif" rather than "gif" and our north American cousins say "gif" rather than "jif". (which I doubt)

    Apparently there's also a conjunction "gif" last heard somewhere in Yorkshire meaning "if".

    and theres "Giffgaff - the mobile network run by you" (damn those adverts in the middle of The Big Bang Theory.

  69. Dave 62


    am I the only one who distinctly remembers this being reported in the past?

    1. Ben Norris

      Re: erm..

      In the past the register did an inconclusive story to stir up an argument like the trolls they are :) This time the author of the standard is definitively telling you the right way to say it.

    2. David Glasgow

      Re: erm..

      You are correct ( as I posted above) that this story has been run before. Not just the debate, but the allegedly authoritative declaration of how GIF should be said. It made bugger all difference the first time round, and it won't be any different this time.

      So 95% say it wrong, do we? <> . Sadly for the JUH crew, it's all way too late. That kind of majority current pronunciation condemns the JUH usage to an interesting historical footnote. Logic and authority don't come into it.

      1. Ben Norris

        Re: erm..

        the hard g crew are still the minority. They just make so much fuss that it seems the other way. Most people know how to say it correctly

  70. Mitoo Bobsworth

    Jet real

    The g in 'graphic' is a hard g, so I will continue to say Gif - I'm not goking.

  71. MarkM

    While we're at it ...

    I thought this was settled years ago, but I still hear the unwashed masses, er, "other people", say "LIE nucks" instead of the officially mandated "LIN ucks".

    To those of you saying it wrong; please stop.

    There. I said it. That's my pedantry out of the way for the next 10 years.


    1. Cameron Colley

      Re: While we're at it ...

      Actually, it's pronounced Lee-nuks to sound like the name of its creator. There's a sound file out there and everything.

      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: While we're at it ...

        Actually, Linus Torvarlds doesn't give a damn how you pronounce Linux .

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: While we're at it ...

      That's because Linux was created by a guy called Linus. Which you tend to pronounce Lie-nus.

  72. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Jiffy Girls!

    Does anybody remember the Jiffy Girls from USENET, especially Jenny? Phwoar... they taught me the right way to say it.

  73. LordHighFixer

    Bow to the creator

    He made it, he can call it what he wants, just like your child (for those of you who have manufactured one, or at least made the attempt). I still call him little Johnny Tables even though there is some funny punctuation in his name. Also, when did Sean (seen) become and acceptable spelling of Shaun or Shawn. If I invent something and spell it hjuqob and insist it is pronounced Bob, suck it up and live with it.

    1. M Gale

      Re: Bow to the creator

      Because Seán is Irish, not English, and the pronunciation rules are different?

      Of course you can use the lightly-anglicised "Sean" or the heavily-anglicised variants such as "Shaun" and "Shawn" if you want.

    2. Dave 62

      Re: Bow to the creator


      I just came back here to see if anyone had said anything about the other thing when I saw this "Shaun" thing.



      >hurr look at me XKCD joke xDxDxD


  74. NomNomNom

    shit can't believe I just waded through four pages of IT nerds trying to force written and pronounced english to conform to the same rules.

    "If machines can't understand it, it can't make sense!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shurely you mean four pajes?

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm Australian

    and I'll pronounce it any damn way I like. Usually by sticking an "o" on the end.

  76. Cameron Colley

    Surely it's pronounced "yiff"?

    Like gift?

    1. M Gale

      Re: Surely it's pronounced "yiff"?

      Only in the fuzzier parts of the Interwebs.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not Jif it's Cif now, they rebadged it.

    Pretty sure I used to say JIF until a friend corrected me and said it's GIF.

  78. Mako

    This reminds me of the whole "SCSI" pronounciation debacle.

    The inventors wanted it to be pronounced "sexy". Inevitably, anyone who came across the acronym in print pronounced it "scuzzy", (unless they were management, in which case they called it "Ess Cee Ess Eye").

    I admire the effort, but there are some fights you just can't win, Mr. Wilhite.

  79. jake Silver badge

    Would you PLEASE remove that fucking blinking icon!

    GAWD/ESS, that is annoying ...

    And it's been "gif", not "jif" all over SillyConValley, for as long as I can remember.

    Not that I give a rat's ass, it's a horrible file format that I avoid wherever possible. I can't remember the last time I vocalized it ... probably 1996-ish, or thereabouts.

  80. CrashM

    Does this mean in the rest of europe they are called CIFs?

  81. ChazEgli

    People with a lot of time on their hands

    So that gives us Jeorge, jenerate, jeneral, etc, etc. It's too dam ridiculous to even be discussing The guy invented .gif and pronounced it jif so what's the prob.

    I do, however, wonder why some people pronounce species as speshies. Must be an invisible h in there somewhere. According to 'The Oxford' both pronunciations are correct. Beets me.

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge


      ChazEgli, in my case, I pronounce species as speshies rather than spesies because I pronounce special as speshal rather than spesial.

      1. ChazEgli

        Re: species

        Too true mate

  82. Rob Crawford

    Since when does anybody

    take pronunciation lessons from Americans ?

    From the country who pronounces Colin as of it's part of the intestines.

    No doubt they have semicolins too

    What next spelling lessons?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Since when does anybody

      "take pronunciation lessons from Americans ?"

      Well ... quite frankly, 90% of the technical lingo involved with your computing needs probably was invented in the USofA's North East or Silly Con Valley ... We invented it, we get to name it, and spec the pronunciation (it's called a "rowter" not a "rooter", for example).

      Don't like that fact? Invent better product.

      Carry on, all :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Since when does anybody

        Utter bollocks.

        In proper English (i.e. British English), if you say "rowter" you're talking about a power tool that carves shapes out of wood. The pronunciation for a network routing device is "rooter".

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  83. Medical Cynic


    I though JIF was now called CIF !

    But as it's a contraction of 'Graphics', surely it should retain the hard G in the abbreviation? Or should graphics have a soft G [danger of confusion with reticulated-skinned creatures with long necks!

  84. Anonymous Coward

    I have nothing significant to add to this discussion, except that at present the comment count is 255, making this number 256.

    Which seemed appropriate.

    Oh and it's GIF (as in GIFT) by the way!

  85. MayorBoris


    Thank goodness, I though I was losing my mind. This whole thread, almost verbatim, seems to have happend already 6 months ago.

  86. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    Gif pronounced Jif

    So we have Gif as Jif and Jif renamed to Cif.


  87. Jerky Jerk face

    If it was JIF it would be called .jif

    as title.


  88. Glenn Booth
    Thumb Up

    'twas ever thus

    Been saying 'jif' for years (and not for the kitchen cleaner). If I ever really wanted to shine people on, I'd call it 'Compuserve Jif' (spelling changed for clarity). If I remember correctly the pronunciation was the subject of a Compuserve FAQ once upon a time.

  89. JLV

    storm in a teacup?

    Given the number of exceptions to pronunciation in English (US or implied-Brit version), surely the inventor could be forgiven if he prefers to have it one way rather than the other?

    FWIW, on the Canadian side of the pond, I've only ever heard it as JIF.

    Useless trivia: in Dutch, GIF means poison. Pronounced with the typical Dutch "g" sound that makes German sound melodious in comparison ;-)

  90. Ben Rosenthal

    Yeah sure guy, we'll all call it whatever you jk, not really, GIF GIF GIF GIF GIF GIF

  91. stuartnz

    The last word

    Will never be spoke, but Stan Carey is, as always, excellent on this very issue

  92. Onid

    it's neither..

    The G originates from Graphic. - Graphic originates from a greek word. in Greek it's written γραφικό the first letter is a gamma - but there is no such sound in the english language the closest would be the beginning sound of the word Yiddish

    So if we go with the ancient origin of the word it would be closer to go for (but still inaccurate).


    fyi in greece everyone calls it gif ...though not saying they invented it but it's their word.

  93. Tilman Ahr

    Gott IM Himmel. Soviel Zeit muss sein...

    1. cortland
      Big Brother

      Da zdravitz!

  94. cortland

    And at least on THIS gig

    ... it's "jigaHertz" and "jigaByte" too. Per Tektronix, anyway. Jo to it!

    More honored in the breach, etc.

  95. Emacs The Viking

    erbs and alfwits

    I think Americans def. take great pride in being "not English" and maybe it all goes back to the tea thing. Regardless of why they do it, I can no longer listen to Americans on television, in fact I barely watch it anyway.

    No longer can my English ear stand to hear things like: "erbs" instead of herbs. Of late, one of the absolute worst offenders IMHIWMFAA (IMHO which means f* all anyway) is Ina Gartner, aka The Barefoot Contessa. She comes out with some real classics, "erb" and "origenno" being the two most oft heard utterances but also we have "p-cans (pecan nuts)", "feelay" (fillet), "soss (sauce)" and the best one yet, "rizzodo" (risotto) pronounced with a heavy D like it's special.

    What really irks me is that I know she knows how to pronounce them really because sometimes she slips up and says the words "properly" and the reverts to some kind of TV speak. TV has ruined us. Mary Whitehouse must be constantly turning in her grave wearing her "I told you so" T.

    Some of it is down to dialect I know but there are times when you just know she's doing it to be different. That's not bad in itself but I personally have to leave the room, don't ask me why. Maybe I am the one with the problem. Maybe I need closure?

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