"highly seasoned meat and vegetable stew," 1650s, from French ragoût (mid-17c.), from ragoûter "awaken the appetite," from Old French re- "back" (see re-) + à "to" + goût "taste," from Latin gustum (nominative gustus), related to gustare "to taste, take a little of" (from PIE root *geus- "to taste; to choose"). Figuratively, of any spicy mixture, by 1670s. The name of ragu, the type of spicy pasta sauce from Bologna, is a 17c. Italian borrowing of the French word.