What Does GIF Mean in a Text?

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:

Image for GIF

When I write GIF, I mean this:

meaning of GIF

"Graphics Interchange Format"

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
Guessability:guessability level 1
1: Easy to guess
Typical Users:typical user

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

author logo

This page is maintained by the Cyber Definitions Editorial Team.

Help Us Improve Cyber Definitions

  • Do you disagree with something on this page?
  • Did you spot a typo?
  • Do you know a slang term that we've missed?
Please tell us using this form.


Try our fun quiz to test your knowledge of slang and texting abbreviations.
gold cup

gold cup

gold cup

  • This test has questions.
  • A correct answer is worth 5 points.
  • You can get up to 5 bonus points for a speedy answer.
  • Some questions demand more than one answer. You must get every part right.
  • Beware! Wrong answers score 0 points.
  • 🏆 If you beat one of the top 3 scores, you will be invited to apply for the Hall of Fame.
Scoring System

Cyber Guru (+)
Cyber Hero (+)
Cyber Captain (+)
Cyber Sergeant (+)
Cyber Recruit (+)