This was Steve Wilhite’s intention when he invented the “Graphic Interchange Format” in 1987–to provide little tidbits of information in animated form. What he didn’t intend for, however, was the bastardization of GIF’s pronunciation when it experienced a late-aughts renaissance.
Taking the stage in order to accept a Webby’s lifetime achievement award, Wilhite had the awards ceremony air a short video in place of his speaking. The clip displayed what’s probably been roiling him for years: “It’s pronounced ‘JIF,’ NOT ‘GIF.’”
Watch the video of the acceptance below. Also realize that, yes, your nerdy buddy who spends half his day on Reddit was right. It is and always has been “JIF” like peanut butter.