OMG, FYI and LOL now in Oxford English Dictionary

Some may ROFL with glee, but for those curmudgeons who harbour a preternatural obsession with Victorian vocabulary, the news will be positively discombobulating: OMG, FYI and LOL are now 'officially' part of the English language.

The Internet-speak expressions - short for 'Oh my God', 'For your information' and 'Laughing out loud' - regularly used in emails, text messages and instant messenger conversations - will receive the stamp of approval when they make it into the new online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), due to be released at the end of March.

The OED calls these abbreviations 'initialisms', presumably because they think the English language doesn't have enough -isms already.

In another move sure to send grammarians into a headspin, the graphical 'heart' symbol - as in 'I ♥ New York', is also set to make its debut.

The trend is far from new: IMHO ('in my humble opinion') and BFF ('best friends forever') are among the web-influenced abbreviations already gracing the pages of the OED - alongside teenage gamers' expressions such as 'frag'.

Internet 'word of the year' 2007, w00t, has even made it into America's foremost reference work, the Merriam-Webster dictionary, zeros and all.

Some of the initialisms pre-date the Internet by a long way. According to the OED, the first recorded use of OMG was in a personal letter written in 1917.

More surprising still, 'emoticons' - the combinations of punctuation marks such as ;-) used to convey sentiments by people too lazy or lacking in imagination to express them in words - are believed to have been used since the 1950s. One publicity-hungry archivist even claims to have found a smiley in the transcript of a speech by Abraham Lincoln, delivered in 1862... OMG indeed.