arrange by colour

Israel is 以色列 (Yiselie) in Chinese. 以 (yi) can mean ‘by’; 色 (se), ‘colour’; and 列 (lie), ‘arrange’.

The very first time I encountered the term ‘以色列’ was in a cloze passage from a Chinese exam paper in primary school. I did not realize that it referred to a country and simply thought that it meant ‘arrange by colour’. Which did puzzle me a little bit, as that intepretation did not seem to fit into the context of the entire sentence. I only found out what it was quite some time later. :)

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