American English

Definition of trace verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they trace
    he / she / it traces
    past simple traced
    -ing form tracing
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  1. 1trace somebody/something (to something) to find or discover someone or something by looking carefully for them/it synonym track somebody/somethingdown We finally traced him to an address in Chicago. I have been unable to trace the letter you mentioned.
  2. 2trace something (back) (to something) to find the origin or cause of something She could trace her family tree back to the 18th century. The leak was eventually traced to a broken seal. The police traced the call (= used special electronic equipment to find out who made the telephone call) to her ex-husband's number.
  3. 3trace something (from something) (to something) to describe a process or the development of something Her book traces the town's history from colonial times to the present day.
  4. 4trace something (out) to draw a line or lines on a surface She traced a line in the sand.
  5. 5trace something to follow the shape or outline of something He traced the route on the map. A tear traced a path down her cheek.
  6. 6trace something to copy a map, drawing, etc. by drawing on tracing paper (= transparent paper) placed over it
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: trace

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