from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One of two side straps or chains connecting a harnessed draft animal to a vehicle or whiffletree.
  • noun A bar or rod, hinged at either end to another part, that transfers movement from one part of a machine to another.
  • idiom (kick over the traces) To act in a way that contravenes social expectations or propriety.
  • noun A visible mark, such as a footprint, made or left by the passage of a person, animal, or thing.
  • noun Evidence or an indication of the former presence or existence of something; a vestige.
  • noun An extremely small amount or barely perceivable indication.
  • noun A constituent, such as a chemical compound or element, present in quantities less than a standard limit.
  • noun A path or trail that has been beaten out by the passage of animals or people.
  • noun An act of researching or ascertaining the origin or location of something.
  • noun A line drawn by a recording instrument, such as a cardiograph.
  • noun The point at which a line, or the curve in which a surface, intersects a coordinate plane.
  • noun The sum of the elements of the principal diagonal of a matrix.
  • noun An engram.
  • intransitive verb To go along or follow (a path, for example).
  • intransitive verb To follow the course or trail of.
  • intransitive verb To ascertain the successive stages in the development or progress of.
  • intransitive verb To discover or determine by searching or researching evidence.
  • intransitive verb To locate or ascertain the origin of.
  • intransitive verb To draw (a line or figure); sketch; delineate.
  • intransitive verb To form (letters) with special concentration or care.
  • intransitive verb To copy by following lines seen through a sheet of transparent paper.
  • intransitive verb To follow closely (a prescribed pattern).
  • intransitive verb To imprint (a design) by pressure with an instrument on a superimposed pattern.
  • intransitive verb To make a design or series of markings on (a surface) by such pressure on a pattern.
  • intransitive verb To record (a variable), as on a graph.
  • intransitive verb To make one's way along a trail or course.
  • intransitive verb To have origins; be traceable.
  • adjective Occurring in extremely small amounts or in quantities less than a standard limit.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One of the two straps, ropes, or chains by which a carriage, wagon, or other vehicle is drawn by a harnessed horse or other draft-animal. See cut under harness.
  • To mark out upon the ground the lines of a field-work.
  • noun The original position or place of a figure after that figure has been supposed to move: thus a circle is the closed line which will slide in its trace
  • noun The intersection of a surface by a given line or surface: as, the trace of a liue is a point; the trace of a surface is a line.
  • noun In angling, a short line or a length of gut by which the hook is attached to the reel-line; a snell; a snood; a leader.
  • To hitch up; put in the traces.
  • Nautical, a form of trice.
  • To draw; delineate; mark out, as on a map, chart, or plan; map out; design; sketch.
  • To write, especially by a careful or laborious formation of the letters; form in writing.
  • Specifically To copy, as a drawing or engraving, by following the lines and marking them on a superimposed sheet, through which they appear.
  • To cover with traced lines, as with writing or tracery.
  • To follow the track, trail, or path of; pursue: a general term, the verbs track and trail being more specific, as in hunting.
  • To follow the course of by observation of the remains or vestiges; ascertain the position, course, contour, etc., of by noting and following the traces that exist.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, track, from Old French, from tracier, to trace, from Vulgar Latin *tractiāre, from Latin tractus, a dragging, course, from past participle of trahere, to draw.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English trais, from Old French, pl. of trait, a hauling, harness strap, from Latin tractus, a hauling, from past participle of trahere, to haul.]


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