from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. Of hounds, to retrace a course in order to pick up a lost scent.
- v. To return or revert (to a subject etc.), to allude to, to evoke, to long or pine for (a past event or era).
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. go back to something earlier
Originally a hunting command, literally “Listen! Go back!”, thence a term to refer to the process. In the 19th century US became used in a figurative sense “to go back to an earlier point or topic in a discussion”. In 20th century American usage used more loosely for references to the past (often historical past, rather than earlier in a given discussion), particularly nostalgic. (Wiktionary)
This was a hark back to the ancient Egyptian ideal of a number of hermits living in a "laura" or collection of detached cells which were situated some considerable distance apart (see CAMALDOLESE).