What Does GIF Mean?

GIF means "Graphics Interchange Format" (image type).

The acronym GIF stands for "Graphics Interchange Format." A GIF is a short, animated picture, without sound. GIFs are typically used as memes, to portray an emotion or a reaction, such as in this example, which is used to show shock:

In the early days, most GIFs were moving icons (e.g., flashing "Buy Now!" buttons or dancing rabbits), but these quickly went out of fashion with web designers and it looked like the GIF was going to be a short-lived format. However, with the rise of social media, GIFs made a comeback, as they are the perfect format for animated memes. By 2012, the GIF image format had become so popular that "GIF" was named as the Oxford American Dictionary's word of the year.

GIF can be pronounced both as "Jif" (as in the peanut butter (US) or household cleaner (UK)) and "Gif" (as in the word "gift"). "Jif" is preferred by Steve Wilhite of CompuServe, the inventor of the GIF format. However, through common usage, "Gif" now dominates as the accepted pronunciation.

GIFs include data compression, but are limited to 256 colors. (Making them unsuitable for photographs.)

Video Summarizing GIF

Here's a short video explaining how to use what GIF stands for:

Summary of Key Points

"Graphics Interchange Format" is the most common definition for GIF on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Definition:Graphics Interchange Format
Type:Acronym and Abbreviation
1: Easy to guess
Typical Users:
Adults and Teenagers


Examples of GIF in Sentences

Here are examples of GIF being used in conversations:
  • Andy: I passed my driving test!
  • Andy's girlfriend: Just imagine that I've sent you a GIF of a cat dancing.
  • Andy: Got it! Thanks.

An Academic Look at GIF

GIF is an acronym, i.e., an abbreviation spoken like a word. It is most commonly used as a noun.

Example of GIF Used in a Text


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