What Are "GIFs"?


Quick Answer

"GIF" stands for graphics interchange format, and it refers to animated images found on the Internet. GIFs were first developed in 1987, but increased network bandwidth and Internet accessibility have made them a favorite image format across the web in the past decade.

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Full Answer

The GIF was honored as one of Oxford Dictionary's Words of the Year in 2012. There has been some controversy over the pronunciation of the word GIF, whether it has a soft G, as in "gin," or a hard G, as in "goat." Oxford Dictionary notes that both pronunciations are acceptable, but GIF inventor Steve Wilhite favors the soft G pronunciation, which he compared to the peanut butter brand Jif.

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