Is GIF a Word? – Meaning & Spelling

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Is GIF even a word? It sure is, but there’s a proper way to use and spell it. I’ll explain what it means, how to spell it right, and how you can use it when speaking and writing. Because, believe it or not, there’s a right and a wrong way.

What Does GIF Mean?

Example of a GIF

The well-known abbreviation GIF stands for “Graphics Interchange Format” in the graphics world. It’s a type of digital image format that designers and software programmers use to display short animations and low-resolution graphics on the web.

Unlike other common image formats you’ve probably seen around, ones like JPEG and PNG, GIFs support animated, moving images and let several frames of image data be displayed together, creating the illusion of movement. Just think of the photographs in the Harry Potter series and how they move.

Outside the digital design world, we use GIFs to express emotions or provide simple animations or illustrations on websites, social media, or instant messaging apps. They are a popular form of online communication, like a humorous or sarcastic message.

I use them on social media to reply in comment threads or make funny posts about books I’m reading. They just convey what I’m feeling better than a written post that most people would probably just scroll past.

Is GIF a Word?

Yes, “GIF” is definitely a real word. It’s an abbreviation of the term “Graphics Interchange Format.” Some people might argue and say it’s JIF, but I assure you that’s completely incorrect. I’ve also seen GIF used as a verb, as in “I’m going to GIF that moment.” So, I guess it’s both a noun and a verb!

Is GIF a Scrabble Word?


You bet! I know this answer without even double-checking because I recently ran into an argument with my husband over a game of Scrabble when I tried to use “GIF.” He said we couldn’t use abbreviations. And while that’s a true Scrabble rule, GIF officially became a Scrabble word in recent years since it’s been added to the dictionary as a valid word in most languages around the world.

How Do You Spell GIF?

The correct way to spell it is G-I-F, and you don’t have to use periods to separate the letters like traditional abbreviations.

Is GIF Capitalized?

Actually, the entire word is supposed to be capitalized just like other graphic file formats: JPEG, PNG, or TIFF.

Using GIF in a Sentence

  • I absolutely love using GIFs to express emotions in online conversations; it works way better than typing it all out.
  • Have you seen the latest funny GIF that’s going around on social media?
  • I use GIFs all the time to illustrate my point in online discussions.
  • I can’t believe I filmed my cat doing that; I’m going to GIF it and throw it on Facebook.
  • We need to GIF this moment!
  • The website has a vast library of GIFs you can use in your messages.
  • I always feel like a GIF can add so much more to a text-based conversation.
  • My bestie always creates GIFs of her cat playing with a toy and posts them on Instagram.
  • Have you ever made your own GIF? It’s easier than you think.
  • A well-timed GIF can make even the driest of conversations more entertaining.
  • I shared a GIF on Facebook of common characters from Pokemon.
  • I’m always searching for new and interesting GIFs to share with my friends.
  • You can add some personality to your online communication by using GIFs.

We live in a world where I can find about 8,000 separate GIFs of Gizmo shooting a bow and arrow in Gremlins 2, but not a single GIF of Thailand’s Witthaya Thamwong edging out Chinese Taipei’s Wei Chun-heng in the archery competition on Monday. (GQ Magazine)

Do You Use GIFs?

So, take it from me. GIF is a real word, you need to capitalize every letter, and you don’t have to separate them with periods. Now you can use the word confidently!