Meaning of TRACE in English


I. trace 1 AC /treɪs/ BrE AmE verb [transitive]

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ trace ; noun : ↑ trace ; adjective : ↑ traceable ]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: tracier , from Vulgar Latin tractiare 'to pull' , from Latin trahere ]

1 . FIND SOMEBODY/SOMETHING to find someone or something that has disappeared by searching for them carefully:

She had given up all hope of tracing her missing daughter.

Police are trying to trace a young woman who was seen near the accident.

2 . ORIGINS to find the origins of when something began or where it came from

trace something (back) to something

They’ve traced their ancestry to Scotland.

The style of these paintings can be traced back to early medieval influences.

3 . HISTORY/DEVELOPMENT to study or describe the history, development, or progress of something:

Sondheim’s book traces the changing nature of the relationship between men and women.

4 . COPY to copy a drawing, map etc by putting a piece of transparent paper over it and then drawing the lines you can see through the paper

5 . WITH YOUR FINGER to draw real or imaginary lines on the surface of something, usually with your finger or toe

trace something on/in/across

Rosie’s fingers traced a delicate pattern in the sand.

6 . trace a call to find out where a telephone call is coming from by using special electronic equipment:

His call was traced and half an hour later police arrested him.

—traceable adjective

II. trace 2 AC BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ trace ; noun : ↑ trace ; adjective : ↑ traceable ]

[ Sense 1-4: Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: tracier ; ⇨ ↑ trace 1 ]

[ Sense 5: Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: trais 'traces' , plural of trait 'pull, trace' ; ⇨ ↑ trait ]

1 . SIGN OF SOMETHING [uncountable and countable] a small sign that shows that someone or something was present or existed:

There was no trace of anyone having entered the room since then.

Petra’s lost all trace of her German accent.

Officers were unable to find any trace of drugs.

disappear/vanish/sink without (a) trace (=disappear completely, without leaving any sign of what happened)

The plane vanished without a trace.

2 . SMALL AMOUNT [countable] a very small amount of a quality, emotion, substance etc that is difficult to see or notice

trace of

I saw the faintest trace of a smile cross Sandra’s face.

traces of poison

3 . TELEPHONE [countable] technical a search to find out where a telephone call came from, using special electronic equipment:

The police put a trace on the call.

4 . INFORMATION RECORDED [countable] technical the mark or pattern made on a ↑ screen or on paper by a machine that is recording an electrical signal:

This trace shows the heartbeat.

5 . CART/CARRIAGE [countable] one of the two pieces of leather, rope etc by which a ↑ cart or carriage is fastened to an animal pulling it

⇨ kick over the traces at ↑ kick 1 (19)

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.