Animated GIF of Space and Planets

The creators of the format pronounced the word as “jif” with a soft “G” /dʒɪf/ as in “gym”. Steve Wilhite says that the intended pronunciation deliberately echoes the American peanut butter brand Jif, and CompuServe employees would often say “Choosy developers choose GIF”, spoofing this brand’s television commercials. The word is now also widely pronounced with a hard “G” /ɡɪf/ as in “gift”. In 2017, an informal poll on programming website Stack Overflow showed some numerical preference for hard-“G” pronunciation, especially among respondents in eastern Europe, though both soft-“G” and enunciating each letter individually were found to be popular in Asia and emerging countries.