I. track 1 S2 W2 /træk/ BrE AmE noun
[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: trac ]
1 . PATH/ROAD [countable] a narrow path or road with a rough uneven surface, especially one made by people or animals frequently moving through the same place:
The road leading to the farm was little more than a dirt track.
The track led through dense forest.
a steep mountain track
2 . MARKS ON GROUND tracks [plural] a line of marks left on the ground by a moving person, animal, or vehicle:
We followed the tyre tracks across a muddy field.
The tracks, which looked like a fox’s, led into the woods.
3 . FOR RACING [countable] a circular course around which runners, cars etc race, which often has a specially prepared surface:
To run a mile, you have to run four circuits of the track.
⇨ ↑ dirt track (2)
a) the two metal lines along which trains travel SYN railway line :
The track was damaged in several places.
b) American English the particular track that a train leaves from or arrives at:
The train for Boston is leaving from track 2.
5 . be on the right/wrong track to think in a way that is likely to lead to a correct or incorrect result:
We’ve had the initial test results and it looks as though we’re on the right track.
6 . keep/lose track of somebody/something to pay attention to someone or something, so that you know where they are or what is happening to them, or to fail to do this:
It’s difficult to keep track of all the new discoveries in genetics.
I just lost all track of time.
7 . MUSIC/SONG [countable] one of the songs or pieces of music on a record, ↑ cassette , or ↑ CD :
There’s a great Miles Davis track on side two.
8 . stop/halt (dead) in your tracks to suddenly stop, especially because something has frightened or surprised you
9 . cover your tracks to be careful not to leave any signs that could let people know where you have been or what you have done because you want to keep it a secret, usually because it is illegal:
He tried to cover his tracks by burning all the documents.
10 . SPORT [uncountable] American English
a) sport that involves running on a track:
The next year he didn’t run track or play football.
b) all the sports in an ↑ athletics competition such as running, jumping, or throwing the ↑ javelin :
a famous track star
She went out for track in the spring (=she joined the school’s track team) .
11 . be on track spoken to be likely to achieve the result you want:
We’re still on track for 10% growth.
12 . get off the track spoken to begin to deal with a new subject rather than the main one which was being discussed:
Don’t get off the track, we’re looking at this year’s figures not last year’s.
13 . be on the track of somebody/something to hunt or search for someone or something:
Police are on the track of the bank robbers.
14 . make tracks spoken used to say you must leave a place:
It’s time we started making tracks.
15 . DIRECTION [countable] the direction or line taken by something as it moves
islands that lie in the track of North Atlantic storms
16 . ON A VEHICLE [countable] a continuous metal band that goes over the wheels of a vehicle such as a ↑ bulldozer , allowing it to move over uneven ground
⇨ off the beaten track at ↑ beaten (1), ⇨ ↑ one-track mind , ⇨ be from the wrong side of the tracks at ↑ wrong 1 (17)
II. track 2 BrE AmE verb
1 . SEARCH [transitive] to search for a person or animal by following the marks they leave behind them on the ground, their smell etc:
Police have been tracking the four criminals all over Central America.
track somebody to something
The dogs tracked the wolf to its lair.
2 . DEVELOPMENT [transitive] to record or study the behaviour or development of someone or something over time:
The progress of each student is tracked by computer.
3 . AIRCRAFT/SHIP [transitive] to follow the movements of an aircraft or ship by using ↑ radar :
a tracking station
4 . CAMERA [intransitive + in/out] to move a film or television camera away from or towards a scene in order to follow the action that you are recording
5 . SCHOOL [transitive] American English to put schoolchildren in groups according to their ability SYN stream British English
6 . MARK [transitive] American English to leave behind a track of something such as mud or dirt when you walk:
Which of you boys tracked mud all over the kitchen floor?
track somebody/something ↔ down phrasal verb
to find someone or something that is difficult to find by searching or looking for information in several different places:
I finally managed to track down the book you wanted in a shop near the station.
Detectives had tracked her down in California.
• • •
▪ follow to walk, drive etc behind or after someone, for example in order to see where they are going:
The man had followed her home to find out where she lived.
Follow that car!
He hired a detective to follow her.
▪ chase to quickly run or drive after someone or something in order to catch them when they are trying to escape:
Police chased the car along the motorway at speeds of up to 90 mph.
▪ run after somebody/go after somebody to quickly follow someone or something in order to stop them or talk to them:
I ran after him to say sorry, but he’d already got on the bus.
▪ stalk /stɔːk $ stɒːk/ to secretly follow an animal in order to kill it, or to secretly follow a person in order to attack them:
a tiger stalking its prey
He had a long history of stalking women in his neighbourhood.
▪ pursue /pəˈsjuː $ pərˈsuː/ written to chase someone in a very determined way:
The ship was being pursued by enemy submarines.
▪ give chase written to chase someone or something who is trying to escape from you:
One of the officers gave chase and arrested the man.
The calf ran away and the lion gave chase.
▪ tail to secretly follow someone in order to watch what they do and where they go:
Apparently, the police had been tailing the terrorists for months.
▪ track to follow and find a person or animal by looking at the marks they leave on the ground:
The bushmen were tracking antelope in the Kalahari desert.