'Why-Fi' or 'Wiffy'? How Americans Pronounce Common Tech Terms

More than 30 percent of us say "meme" as "me-me" ... and other findings from a new survey
eBay Deals

Okay, once and for all: Is it "gif" or "jif"?

EBay Deals, which runs a blog, decided to find out. Its team surveyed 1,100 people—U.S. residents, ranging in age from 18 to 45—asking them about the terms they use to describe some of the most common objects and actions of digital life. And about the way they pronounce those terms when they're discussing them IRL, which is pronounced I-R-L. The team, a representative told me, started by issuing a round of questions to 200 people, asking for open-ended answers; once they got a selection of three or four common terms—"remote," for example, as well as "remote control," "clicker," and "controller"—they polled the entire group to get a sense of the popularity of each term. 

Their findings? "Remote," it turns out, is much more commonly used than "clicker." But there were more surprising findings, as well. For example: More than 30 percent of eBay's respondents pronounce the word "meme" as "me-me," which is as fun to say as it is incorrect. And nearly 43 percent of those respondents pronounce "data" as "dah-tuh," eBay said—a nod to the original Latin, maybe, but also a snub to certain androids.

And the whole "gif" vs. "jif" thing? Nearly 54 percent of respondents use the hard-g version, compared to nearly 41 percent who use the soft. And more than 5 percent use another pronunciation entirely—which makes you wonder whether there's a group of Americans going to Buzzfeed, scrolling down, and remarking to themselves about all the animated jeefs

Here are more of their findings

Gif vs. Jif

eBay Deals


eBay Deals

Mobile Phone

eBay Deals

Flash Drive

eBay Deals


eBay Deals

Remote Control

eBay Deals


eBay Deals

Booting Up

eBay Deals


eBay Deals

Online Search

eBay Deals


eBay Deals


eBay Deals


Jump to comments
Presented by

Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?

Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus


The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.


How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe


A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.


I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."


Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion



More in Technology

Just In