GIF is pronounced Jif

GIF is pronounced Jif

            The correct pronunciation of the Word of the Year 2012 sounds like a brand of peanut butter. I did not know that. What I did know about GIF had something to do with pictures that showed movement. For example, the baby dancing to the “ooga chaka” song back in 1996. If you never watched the dancing baby GIF, you are missing out. Like anything else you’re looking for, just Google it. That baby will dance eternally on the World Wide Web. dancingbaby2

So it seems there were many people unaware of the correct pronunciation of the acronym. Graphics Interchange Format, the words this acronym is formed from, begins with a soft “g” sound. Pronouncing it gif sounding like gift makes the most sense. But now we all know GIF is pronounced with a hard “g” sounding like genius. I hope this clears things up but I can still hear myself mispronouncing GIF in my head, as I write.

The GIF was 25 last year. I was curious to see what a new and improved GIF image might look like since its conception. Video games have made leaps and bounds in the past 25 years. Back in the day my friends and I gathered to play Atari and Nintendo in my parent’s basement.  They were simple games and graphics with few complex concepts. Like the outdated video games, the GIF files from 1997 are just images with a few portraying some movement. Looking at the top 50 GIF files of 2012 I immediately realized the GIF has grown-up artistically.


Of the top 35 GIF files in 1997, 24 were still images.  Last year’s top 54 GIF images were all looped, showing action. It seems the GIF is rarely a still picture, but instead a cleverly crafted series of images on a continuous loop. Most of these images convey humor or sarcasm while others are just cool looking. At one time it was the rage to embed GIF images on a MySpace page. MySpace is no longer the place to be on the Internet. The large number of electronic devices available makes sharing GIF images easy on cell phones, laptops, notepads and more. Entire web communities have developed around the concept of sharing GIF files. Tumblr and Flicker are popular websites to share simple, single images to complex loops of action.

Jeff Gordon Levi

I looked at numerous GIF images and saw the value in these little “clips” as a marketing tool. Pop-up ads are loaded with GIF images made to draw your eyes from the content of the website you are viewing. The flashing images appearing in various places on a website are impossible to ignore. Some GIFs are created to fool a viewer into believing it is necessary to click on them to continue on a website. The pop-up GIF will instead redirect them to a new website offering something the viewer has no interest in seeing. Tricky bastards aren’t they?

The GIF is a remarkable tool on the Internet. They look cool, make you laugh and lead you astray while surfing the web. People just love GIF images and once you know what you’re looking for, you will see GIFs on almost every website you visit. GIFs are fun, flashy and fantastic. With all these wonderful attributes GIF images possess, why has it taken 25 long years to declare GIF an official word?

Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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