Goody, goody, so many INTERESTING comments; I am deffo NOT ras le bol! I also do not think it is particularly rude. In fact I went to a book-signing where the book was called ras le bol and the author was a respectable middle-of-the-road white-haired chap with twinkling eyes.
He read extracts of the book to us. It was a series of anecdotes about ras le bol situations where the descriptions tended to the funny rather than the vulgar or angry. I didn't understand much French in those days and I didn't buy the book because I thought he was trying to write like Philippe Delerme and failing as he wasn't as funny. Besides, I couldn't afford 12 euros!
BinB, so tell us what is the origin of "tank", please?
GG, I was wondering whether you could use blindé in a more general way than armoured car and now you have told me about locks that are blindées, so thanks for that.
Actually, what I noted about les gaz lacrymogènes was that gaz is one of those words that are the same in the singular and the plural: so le gaz, les gaz but les and lacrymogènes need to accord.
I have also noted on many occasions that Proper Nouns also remain the same in the singular and the plural. So, Madame Mint but les Mint (no "s") to refer to M. et Madame Mint or indeed to la famille Mint (LOL, the family mint, I rather like that!)
Then there are the nouns which only exist in the plural. So les toilettes (to refer to one bog or any number of bogs) and les retrouvailles ( even if only one meeting).
Other unguessable words are cachet
. I do know the meaning now, of course, but certainly they puzzled me immensely when I first came to live in France. Anyway, I now know any number of medical terms....... acquired through much suffering and indignity, I might add
Apprendre une langue, c'est faire un voyage différent chaque jour.
from Fle pour les curieux