J’en ai ras le bol!

J’en ai ras le bol!

zhah nay RAH luh BUHL!  Click below to hear the pronunciation.  

I’m fed up with it! I’ve had it up to here with that!

Whatever “it” is…the French says, My bowl is full of it!  

Ras means close-cropped, short (as in hair), and raser means to shave. So what does that have to do with bowls? Or being fed up? Well, first of all, bol is one of many slang words for head…maybe because it’s roundish? Or maybe because a bol is also the vessel from which French adults often drink their morning café au lait, and children drink their chocolat chaud (hot chocolate), and a bol may have des oreilles (ears, day zoh-RAY-yuh).

So if your bol is filled to the brim, that’s à ras bords (ah RAH BORE). So close to the top that it’s almost as if  the top were shaved off! Level with the edges… And if you are fed up with something, you feel as if it has filled your whole consciousness to overflowing.

By the way, if you have visited France or Belgium, you know that the ground floor is called le rez-de-chaussée (RAID show-SAY), ground level. The word rez only exists in this and one other expression, and it’s a variation of ras!


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