Before accepting a lifetime achievement award at the Webby Awards last night, Steve Wilhite, the man who invented the GIF back in 1987, ruined everybody's day by reintroducing the great pronunciation debate of our time: How do you pronounce "GIF"? Here he is in an interview with the New York Times Bits blog yesterday:
“The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations,” Mr. Wilhite said. “They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”
First of all: here's a relevant GIF.
And alternatively: Steve Wilhite is wrong. Steve Wilhite admits that he has never even made an animated GIF himself. Can we even trust Steve Wilhite? Don't allow Steve Wilhite to dictate your life. Continue on with your preferred pronunciation, whether it's a giff, a jiff, a heef, a jefe, or a gee-eye-eff. We are all correct. (But do let us point out that the acronym stands for "Graphics Interchange Format," not Jraphics Interchange Format. Moving on.)