• Newsfeed

WATCH: Obama Takes a Stand in the Great GIF Wars

2 minute read

Is it GIF, as in gift? Or is it GIF, as in gerrymandered? That is the question.

President Barack Obama declared in a video released by the White House Thursday that he has long pondered the question of how to pronounce the Internet’s most debated word — and he’s come to a decision.

In a meeting this week, Tumblr Founder and CEO David Karp asked Obama, “Did you see the GIF?” pronouncing it “jif” with the soft G. Technically speaking, this is the proper pronunciation, so decreed by Steve Wilhite, who created the GIF—short for Graphics Interchange Format—in 1987.

“A GIF,” Obama replies, with the hard g as in gloat. “I’m all on top of it.”

“So you’ve made up your mind, it’s a GIF?” Karp asks.

“It is. That is my official position. I’ve—I’ve pondered it a long time,” Obama declares.

Many in the media were quick to report on Obama’s mispronunciation of the term. But, as a proponent of the living language and non-stick-in-the-mudness in general, this writer, controversially among his colleagues, is fine with the President’s position.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com