n. & v.
n. 1 a a mark or marks left by a person, animal, or thing in passing. b (in pl.) such marks esp. footprints. 2 a rough path, esp. one beaten by use. 3 a continuous railway line (laid three miles of track). 4 a a racecourse for horses, dogs, etc. b a prepared course for runners etc. 5 a a groove on a gramophone record. b a section of a gramophone record containing one song etc. (this side has six tracks). c a lengthwise strip of magnetic tape containing one sequence of signals. 6 a a line of travel, passage, or motion (followed the track of the hurricane; America followed in the same track). b the path travelled by a ship, aircraft, etc. (cf. COURSE n. 2c). 7 a continuous band round the wheels of a tank, tractor, etc. 8 the transverse distance between a vehicle's wheels. 9 = SOUNDTRACK. 10 a line of reasoning or thought (this track proved fruitless).
v. 1 tr. follow the track of (an animal, person, spacecraft, etc.). 2 tr. make out (a course, development, etc.); trace by vestiges. 3 intr. (often foll. by back, in, etc.) (of a film or television camera) move in relation to the subject being filmed. 4 intr. (of wheels) run so that the back ones are exactly in the track of the front ones. 5 intr. (of a gramophone stylus) follow a groove. 6 tr. US a make a track with (dirt etc.) from the feet. b leave such a track on (a floor etc.). in one's tracks colloq. where one stands, there and then (stopped him in his tracks). keep (or lose) track of follow (or fail to follow) the course or development of. make tracks colloq. go or run away. make tracks for colloq. go in pursuit of or towards. off the track away from the subject. on a person's track 1 in pursuit of him or her. 2 in possession of a clue to a person's conduct, plans, etc. on the wrong side of (or across) the tracks colloq. in an inferior or dubious part of town. on the wrong (or right) track following the wrong (or right) line of inquiry. track down reach or capture by tracking. track events running-races as opposed to jumping etc. (cf. field events). tracking station an establishment set up to track objects in the sky. track-laying (of a vehicle) having a caterpillar tread. track record a person's past performance or achievements. track shoe a spiked shoe worn by a runner. track suit a loose warm suit worn by an athlete etc. for exercising or jogging. track system US streaming in education. track with Austral. sl. associate with, court. trackage US n.
[ ME f. OF trac, perh. f. LG or Du. tre(c)k draught etc. ]