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Common Intermediate Format
Back in history, this acronym's name comes from video conferencing tools in late 1980's and early 1990's. Nowadays the term CIF is used to mean specific video resolution:
352x288 in PAL
352x240 in NTSC
CIF is 1/4th of "full resolution" TV, also called as D1 and is best-known because VideoCD standard uses this resolution.