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

  • n. A visible mark, such as a footprint, made or left by the passage of a person, animal, or thing.
  • n. Evidence or an indication of the former presence or existence of something; a vestige.
  • n. A barely perceivable indication; a touch: spoke with a trace of sarcasm.
  • n. An extremely small amount.
  • n. A constituent, such as a chemical compound or element, present in quantities less than a standard limit.
  • n. A path or trail that has been beaten out by the passage of animals or people.
  • n. A way or route followed.
  • n. A line drawn by a recording instrument, such as a cardiograph.
  • n. Mathematics The point at which a line, or the curve in which a surface, intersects a coordinate plane.
  • n. Mathematics The sum of the elements of the principal diagonal of a matrix.
  • n. An engram.
  • transitive v. To follow the course or trail of: trace a wounded deer; tracing missing persons.
  • transitive v. To ascertain the successive stages in the development or progress of: tracing the life cycle of an insect; trace the history of a family.
  • transitive v. To locate or discover by searching or researching evidence: trace the cause of a disease.
  • transitive v. To draw (a line or figure); sketch; delineate.
  • transitive v. To form (letters) with special concentration or care.
  • transitive v. To copy by following lines seen through a sheet of transparent paper.
  • transitive v. To follow closely (a prescribed pattern): The skater traced a figure eight.
  • transitive v. To imprint (a design) by pressure with an instrument on a superimposed pattern.
  • transitive v. To make a design or series of markings on (a surface) by such pressure on a pattern.
  • transitive v. To record (a variable), as on a graph.
  • intransitive v. To make one's way along a trail or course: traced through the files.
  • intransitive v. To have origins; be traceable: linguistic features that trace to West Africa.
  • adj. Occurring in extremely small amounts or in quantities less than a standard limit.
  • n. One of two side straps or chains connecting a harnessed draft animal to a vehicle or whiffletree.
  • n. A bar or rod, hinged at either end to another part, that transfers movement from one part of a machine to another.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An act of tracing.
  • n. A mark left as a sign of passage of a person or animal.
  • n. A very small amount.
  • n. An electric current-carrying conductive pathway on a printed circuit board.
  • n. An informal road or prominent path in an arid area.
  • n. One of two straps, chains, or ropes of a harness, extending from the collar or breastplate to a whippletree attached to a vehicle or thing to be drawn; a tug.
  • n. The sum of the diagonal elements of a square matrix.
  • v. To follow the trail of.
  • v. To follow the history of.
  • v. To draw or sketch.
  • v. To copy onto a sheet of transparent paper.
  • v. To walk; to go; to travel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of two straps, chains, or ropes of a harness, extending from the collar or breastplate to a whiffletree attached to a vehicle or thing to be drawn; a tug.
  • n. A connecting bar or rod, pivoted at each end to the end of another piece, for transmitting motion, esp. from one plane to another; specif., such a piece in an organ-stop action to transmit motion from the trundle to the lever actuating the stop slider.
  • n. A mark left by anything passing; a track; a path; a course; a footprint; a vestige.
  • n. A very small quantity of an element or compound in a given substance, especially when so small that the amount is not quantitatively determined in an analysis; -- hence, in stating an analysis, often contracted to tr.
  • n. A mark, impression, or visible appearance of anything left when the thing itself no longer exists; remains; token; vestige.
  • n. The intersection of a plane of projection, or an original plane, with a coordinate plane.
  • n. The ground plan of a work or works.
  • intransitive v. To walk; to go; to travel.
  • transitive v. To mark out; to draw or delineate with marks; especially, to copy, as a drawing or engraving, by following the lines and marking them on a sheet superimposed, through which they appear.
  • transitive v. To follow by some mark that has been left by a person or thing which has preceded; to follow by footsteps, tracks, or tokens.
  • transitive v. Hence, to follow the trace or track of.
  • transitive v. To copy; to imitate.
  • transitive v. To walk over; to pass through; to traverse.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To mark out upon the ground the lines of a field-work.
  • 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.
  • To observe traces or vestiges of; discover visible evidences or proofs of.
  • To follow step by step: as, to trace the development of a plot: often with up, back, out.
  • To make one's way through or along; traverse; thread; perambulate.
  • To move; go; march; make one's way; travel.
  • To step; pace; dance.
  • To hitch up; put in the traces.
  • Nautical, a form of trice.
  • n.
  • n. 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
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Hence, a track or path; a way.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A small quantity; an insignificant proportion: as, tetradymite or telluride of bismuth usually contains traces of selenium.
  • n. Train; procession.
  • n. A step or series of steps; a measure in dancing.
  • n. In fortification, the ground-plan of a work.
  • n. In geometry, the intersection of a plane with one of the planes of projection.
  • n. The record made by a self-registering instrument.
  • n. Synonyms, , and
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a visible mark (as a footprint) left by the passage of person or animal or vehicle
  • n. a just detectable amount
  • n. a suggestion of some quality
  • v. discover traces of
  • v. read with difficulty
  • v. copy by following the lines of the original drawing on a transparent sheet placed upon it; make a tracing of
  • n. either of two lines that connect a horse's harness to a wagon or other vehicle or to a whiffletree
  • v. pursue or chase relentlessly
  • v. to go back over again
  • v. follow, discover, or ascertain the course of development of something
  • n. an indication that something has been present
  • v. make one's course or travel along a path; travel or pass over, around, or along
  • v. make a mark or lines on a surface
  • n. a drawing created by superimposing a semitransparent sheet of paper on the original image and copying on it the lines of the original image


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

Middle English, track, from Old French, from tracier, to make one's way, from Vulgar Latin *tractiāre, from Latin tractus, a dragging, course, from past participle of trahere, to draw.
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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