noun \ˈtrās\

Definition of TRACE

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
:  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

Origin of TRACE

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from tracer to trace
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of TRACE

trace, vestige, track mean a perceptible sign made by something that has passed. trace may suggest any line, mark, or discernible effect <the killer left no traces>. 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>.



: to draw the outline of (something); especially : to copy (a design or picture) by putting a thin piece of paper that you can see through over it and drawing on top of it

: to draw (something, such as letters or a picture) especially in a careful way

: to follow the path or line of (something)


Full Definition of TRACE

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)
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 war>
c :  to discover by going backward over the evidence step by step <trace your ancestry>
d :  to discover signs, evidence, or remains of
:  to lay out the trace of (a military installation)
intransitive verb
:  to make one's way; especially :  to follow a track or trail
:  to be traceable historically
trace·abil·i·ty \ˌtrā-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
trace·able \ˈtrā-sə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of TRACE

  1. The children traced their hands onto the sidewalk with chalk.
  2. You can put a piece of paper over the pattern and trace it.
  3. She traced the letters of her name.
  4. We will need to trace the electrical wires through the walls.
  5. The word amiable traces back to the Latin word for friend.

Origin of TRACE

Middle English, from Anglo-French tracer, from Vulgar Latin *tractiare to drag, from Latin tractus, past participle of trahere to pull
First Known Use: 14th century



Definition of TRACE

:  either of two straps, chains, or lines of a harness for attaching a draft animal to something (as a vehicle) to be drawn
:  leader 1e(2)
:  one or more vascular bundles supplying a leaf or twig

Origin of TRACE

Middle English trais, from Anglo-French tres, plural of trait pull, draft, trace — more at trait
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Animal Husbandry Terms

apiary, bantam, calico, girth, hogwash, mast, rut


noun \ˈtrās\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of TRACE

:  the marking made by a recording instrument (as a kymograph)
:  an amount of a chemical constituent not always quantitatively determinable because of minuteness
:  engram
trace transitive verb
trace·able \-ə-bəl\ adjective


Next Word in the Dictionary: trace–bearerPrevious Word in the Dictionary: TracaulonAll Words Near: trace
May 23, 2015
debouch Hear it
to emerge or cause to emerge
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears