"wildcat," c. 1300, from Old French once "lynx" (13c.), from lonce, with l- mistaken as definite article, from Vulgar Latin *luncea, from Latin lyncea "lynx-like," from lynx (see lynx). Originally the common lynx, later extended to other large, spotted wildcats, now mainly used of the mountain-panther or snow leopard of Asia.
"cat-lover," 1931, with -phile "one that loves" + Greek ailouros "cat" (probably only "wildcat," as "domestic cats were not found in the Greek world" [Beekes]), which is of unknown origin. Usually explained as a compound of aiolos "quick-moving" + oura "tail," hence "with moving tail," which is plausible despite some phonetic difficulties, according to Beekes, who also notes "the word may well have been adapted by folk etymology ...." An earlier attempt at an English word for "cat-lover" was philofelist (1843).
also carpet-bagger, 1868, American English, scornful appellation for Northern whites who set up residence in the South after the fall of the Confederate states seeking private gain or political advancement. The name is based on the image of men arriving with all their worldly goods in a big carpetbag. Sense later extended to any opportunist from out of the area (such as wildcat bankers or territorial officers in the West).
[A]n opprobrious term applied properly to a class of adventurers who took advantage of the disorganized condition of political affairs in the earlier years of reconstruction to gain control of the public offices and to use their influence over the negro voters for their own selfish ends. The term was often extended to include any unpopular person of Northern origin living in the South. [Century Dictionary]
moderate-sized wildcat with a short tail, penciled ears, more or less spotted fur, and 28 teeth, inhabiting Eurasia, Africa, and North America; mid-14c., from Latin lynx (source of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian lince), from Greek lyngx, an old name of the lynx found also in Armenian, Germanic, and Balto-Slavic, though often transformed or altered. Often linked to PIE root *leuk- "light, brightness," in reference to its gleaming eyes or its ability to see in the dark, but there are phonetic problems with that and Beekes suggests a loan from a non-IE substrate language.
If that men hadden eyghen of a beeste that highte lynx, so that the lokynge of folk myghte percen thurw the thynges that withstonden it. [Chaucer's "Boethius," c. 1380]
Cognates probably are Lithuanian lūšis "lynx," Old High German luhs, German luchs, Old English lox, Dutch los, Swedish lo, Armenian lusanunk'. The dim northern constellation was added in 1687 by Johannes Hevelius. Lyncean "pertaining to a lynx" (from Greek lynkeios) is attested from 1630s.