What Does GIF Mean?

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

The acronym GIF most commonly refers to a short, animated picture without sound. GIFs are typically used to portray an emotion or a reaction. 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 the GIF image format looked like it was going to be short lived. However, with the rise of social media, GIFs have made a comeback, particularly on Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp. Here is an example of a GIF used to show shock:

By 2012, the GIF image format had become so popular that "GIF" was named as the Oxford American Dictionary's 2012 word of the year. Of interest, GIF can be pronounced both "jiff" (as in the household cleaner) and "giff" (as in "gift"). (NB: "Jiff" was used by Steve Wilhite of CompuServe, the inventor of the GIF format, but, through common usage, "giff" now dominates as the accepted pronunciation.)

GIFs include data compression but are limited to 256 colors, making them inappropriate for photographs.

Video Summarizing GIF

Here is a video summarizing what "GIF" stands for:

Summary of Key Points

"Graphics Interchange Format (image type)" is the most common definition for GIF on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Definition:Graphics Interchange Format (image type)
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


See Also

ASCII (american standard code for information interchange) AVI (audio video interleaved (media format)) BMP (bitmap (image format)) DIVX (video format) GIS (geographic information system ) IT (information technology) JPG (image fle format) PDF (portable document format) RAR (file extension of type of compression format (.rar))