trac·ing | \ˈtrā-siŋ \

Definition of tracing 

1 : something that is traced: such as

a : a copy made on a superimposed transparent sheet

b : a graphic record made by an instrument (such as a seismograph) that registers some movement

2 : the act of one that traces

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of tracing in a Sentence

the tracing of this mountain lion is going to be difficult if the rain washes away all of the tracks

Recent Examples on the Web

That tracing also was used in a new way during this outbreak: to identify candidates for an experimental Ebola vaccine that had only been used once before, in the waning days of the West African epidemic. Max Bearak, Washington Post, "Remember that Ebola outbreak in Congo? Looks like they contained it.," 27 June 2018 Nvidia just announced real-time ray tracing, dubbing it Nvidia RTX, as a feature of its next generation of graphics cards, and Epic Games is among the first to offer support for the same. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Epic Games showcases the Unreal future of graphics with real-time ray tracing in Star Wars," 22 Mar. 2018 Having a fast, non-invasive method such as heavy water tracing would be a great economic boon. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "Yellowstone's magma chamber is more powerful than we knew. Here's why studying it matters.," 3 July 2018 Amazon’s own shopping app for iOS and Android will send notifications when products you’re tracing are on sale. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "5 Tips for Getting the Best Deals on Amazon Prime Day 2018," 3 July 2018 Contact tracing, as the process is called, requires establishing a vast surveillance team to watch people’s movements from town to town and reporting any cases of fever that could be Ebola. Max Bearak, Washington Post, "Remember that Ebola outbreak in Congo? Looks like they contained it.," 27 June 2018 As a result, tracing where a cell phone has been is no different to tracking where a person has been. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court Cares About Your Digital Privacy," 22 June 2018 Control of the outbreak has focused on efforts such as patient isolation and care, contact tracing, community awareness and the use of an experimental vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV. Meera Senthilingam, CNN, "Experimental drugs approved for use in Congo Ebola outbreak," 6 June 2018 Medical teams have been deployed in the city and the province for the crucial task of tracing and mapping the location of anyone who has been in contact with those known or suspected of being infected. Nick Cumming-bruce,, "Ebola spreads to major Congo city," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tracing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of tracing

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tracing

Statistics for tracing

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tracing

The first known use of tracing was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tracing



English Language Learners Definition of tracing

: a copy of a picture, map, etc., that is made by tracing the original


trac·ing | \ˈtrā-siŋ\

Kids Definition of tracing

: a copy of something traced from an original


trac·ing | \ˈtrā-siŋ \

Medical Definition of tracing 

: a graphic record made by an instrument (as an electrocardiograph) that registers some movement

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on tracing

What made you want to look up tracing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!