In 2012, the word "GIF" was officially recognized as a verb as well as a noun, meaning "to create a GIF file". The United States wing of the Oxford University Press voted it their word of the year, saying that GIFs have evolved into "a tool with serious applications including research and journalism".
The creators of the format pronounced GIF as "Jif" with a soft "G" /ˈdʒɪf/ as in "gin". Steve Wilhite says that the intended pronunciation deliberately echoes the American peanut butter brand, Jif, and CompuServe employees would often say "Choosy developers choose GIF", spoofing this brand's television commercials.
An alternative pronunciation with a hard "G" /ˈɡɪf/ as in "graphics", reflecting the expanded acronym, is in widespread usage. Both pronunciations are acknowledged by the Oxford English Dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary, and the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.