1832, in imitation of U.S. black speech; extended form of Lord as an interjection.
What does a speaker mean if he/she exclaims “Lawdy me!”? I noticed this exclamation when I was reading a short story “the Conscience of the Court” by Zora Neale Hurston. There was one brown-skinned woman who was charged with felonious and aggravated assault and he exclaimed “Lawdy me!” during the court session by musing it inside herself. I haven’t found much information on my own search and I know only that Lawd and Lawdy are the non-standard spellings of Lord and Lordy and they have been used in black speech. These two words “Lawdy” and “me” attached together doesn’t make any actual sense for me, but I have my own guessings what they could mean: 1)”Lord help me!”, 2)more polite and more invisible way to exclaim “Oh my God” without referring to direct begging of the God, 3)”My dear God, forgive me my sins!” or 4) “Lawdy me!” is only an interjection used to express surprise, shock or the strength of feeling in a case that the person is completely non-religious.