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

  • 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.
  • 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.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To hitch up; put in the traces.
  • Nautical, a form of trice.
  • noun The track left by a person or an animal walking or running over the ground or other surface, as snow or the like; footprints; the track, trail, or rut left by something which is drawn along, as a cart; the marks which indicate the course pursued by any moving thing.
  • noun Hence, a track or path; a way.
  • noun A token, indication, or sign of something that has passed over or away; a mark, impression, or visible evidence of something that has occurred or existed; a vestige.
  • noun A small quantity; an insignificant proportion: as, tetradymite or telluride of bismuth usually contains traces of selenium.
  • noun Train; procession.
  • noun A step or series of steps; a measure in dancing.
  • noun In fortification, the ground-plan of a work.
  • noun In geometry, the intersection of a plane with one of the planes of projection.
  • noun The record made by a self-registering instrument.
  • noun Synonyms, , and
  • noun Trace, Vestige. Trace is much broader than vestige. A vestige is something of the nature of signs or remains, very small in amount, showing that a thing has been in a certain place: as, not a vestige of the banquet remained. Trace may have this sense of a last faint mark or sign of previous existence or action; or it may stand for a very small amount of any sort: as, a trace of earthy matter in water; or it may stand for the sign, clue, or track by which pursuit may be made: as, to get upon the trace of game or of a fugitive.
  • To mark out upon the ground the lines of a field-work.


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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