This phrase literally means the bowl is full, and even though this might seem like a good thing, the expression is actually used to emphasize frustration or annoyance, as in: completely fed up. If the bowl is full right up to the top, it simply can’t hold anymore without spilling over.
The expression is often used as part of the phrase en avoir ras-le-bol (to be fed up.)
J'en ai ras le bol (I'm fed up) doesn't by itself specify what your bowl is full of, but it's probably safe to assume that it's aggravation, frustration, or one of their close cousins. If you'd like to be more specific, you'll say j'en ai ras-le-bol de (I'm fed up with.)
Ras-le-bol! can also serve as an exclamation indicating that enough is enough, or as a noun referring to general dissatisfaction.
Other informal equivalents are j'en ai ras-la-casquette or j'en ai marre. A more polite way of expressing the same idea is j'en ai assez, which translates directly as I've had enough.
The origin is uncertain although several sources claim that it started as a vulgar expression where the original bowl wasn’t your typical bowl of soup, but rather ....... a toilet bowl or the body part most closely concerned with it. This former Renaissance meaning would surprise most francophones today. While the expression is informal, it is appropriate enough to appear in news headlines on a regular basis to describe how despondent people are with unpopular government moves such as tax increases or Covid-related restrictions, to name just a few.
Il pleut depuis deux semaines, et j'en ai ras le bol ! It's been raining for two weeks, and I'm sick of it!
Le ras-le-bol étudiant augmente depuis des années.
Student unrest has been on the rise for years.