Meaning of TRACE in English


I. ˈtrās noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from tracer to trace

Date: 14th century

1. archaic : a course or path that one follows


a. : a mark or line left by something that has passed ; also : footprint

b. : a path, trail, or road made by the passage of animals, people, or vehicles


a. : a sign or evidence of some past thing : vestige

b. : engram

4. : something (as a line) traced or drawn: as

a. : the marking made by a recording instrument (as a seismograph or kymograph)

b. : the ground plan of a military installation or position either on a map or on the ground


a. : the intersection of a line or plane with a plane

b. : the usually bright line or spot that moves across the screen of a cathode-ray tube ; also : the path taken by such a line or spot


a. : a minute and often barely detectable amount or indication

a trace of a smile

b. : an amount of a chemical constituent not always quantitatively determinable because of minuteness

• trace·less -ləs adjective


trace , vestige , track mean a perceptible sign made by something that has passed. trace may suggest any line, mark, or discernible effect

a snowfield pockmarked with the traces of caribou

vestige applies to a tangible reminder such as a fragment or remnant of what is past and gone

boulders that are vestiges of the last ice age

track implies a continuous line that can be followed

the fossilized tracks of dinosaurs

II. verb

( traced ; trac·ing )

Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French tracer, from Vulgar Latin * tractiare to drag, from Latin tractus, past participle of trahere to pull

Date: 14th century

transitive verb


a. : delineate , sketch

b. : to form (as letters or figures) carefully or painstakingly

c. : to copy (as a drawing) by following the lines or letters as seen through a transparent superimposed sheet

d. : to impress or imprint (as a design or pattern) with a tracer

e. : to record a tracing of in the form of a curved, wavy, or broken line

trace the heart action

f. : to adorn with linear ornamentation (as tracery or chasing)

2. archaic : to travel over : traverse


a. : to follow the footprints, track, or trail of

b. : to follow or study out in detail or step by step

trace the history of the labor movement

c. : to discover by going backward over the evidence step by step

trace your ancestry

d. : to discover signs, evidence, or remains of

4. : to lay out the trace of (a military installation)

intransitive verb

1. : to make one's way ; especially : to follow a track or trail

2. : to be traceable historically

• trace·abil·i·ty ˌtrā-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē noun

• trace·able ˈtrā-sə-bəl adjective

III. noun

Etymology: Middle English trais, from Anglo-French tres, plural of trait pull, draft, trace — more at trait

Date: 14th century

1. : either of two straps, chains, or lines of a harness for attaching a draft animal to something (as a vehicle) to be drawn

2. : leader 1e(2)

3. : one or more vascular bundles supplying a leaf or twig

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.