- 1 trace somebody/something (to something) to find or discover somebody/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 trace something (back) (to something) to find the origin or cause of something She could trace her family tree back to the 16th 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. See related entries: Phone services
- 3trace something (from something) (to something) to describe a process or the development of something Her book traces the town's history from Saxon times to the present day.
- 4trace something (out) to draw a line or lines on a surface She traced a line in the sand.
- 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.
- 6trace something to copy a map, drawing, etc. by drawing on transparent paper (= tracing paper) placed over it Word Originverb Middle English (first recorded as a noun in the sense ‘path that someone or something takes’): from Old French trace (noun), tracier (verb), based on Latin tractus
verbjump to other results
BrE BrE//treɪs//; NAmE NAmE//treɪs//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they trace
BrE BrE//treɪs//; NAmE NAmE//treɪs//he / she / it traces
BrE BrE//ˈtreɪsɪz//; NAmE NAmE//ˈtreɪsɪz//past simple traced
BrE BrE//treɪst//; NAmE NAmE//treɪst//past participle traced
BrE BrE//treɪst//; NAmE NAmE//treɪst//-ing form tracing
BrE BrE//ˈtreɪsɪŋ//; NAmE NAmE//ˈtreɪsɪŋ//Phone services