Definition of trace verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

        

    trace

     verb
    verb
    NAmE//treɪs//
     
    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 down We finally traced him to an address in Chicago. I have been unable to trace the letter you mentioned.
  2. 2 trace 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. 3 trace 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. 6 trace 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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