trace ( traces plural & 3rd person present) ( tracing present participle) ( traced past tense & past participle )
1 verb If you trace the origin or development of something, you find out or describe how it started or developed.
The exhibition traces the history of graphic design in America from the 19th century to the present... V n
The psychiatrist successfully traced some of her problems to severe childhood traumas. V n to n
Trace back means the same as trace., phrasal verb
Britain's Parliament can trace its history back to the English Parliament of the 13th century... V n P to n
She has never traced back her lineage, but believes her grandparents were from Aberdeenshire. V P n (not pron)
2 verb If you trace someone or something, you find them after looking for them.
Police are anxious to trace two men seen leaving the house just before 8am... V n
3 verb If you trace something such as a pattern or a shape, for example with your finger or toe, you mark its outline on a surface.
I traced the course of the river on the map. V n
4 verb If you trace a picture, you copy it by covering it with a piece of transparent paper and drawing over the lines underneath.
She learned to draw by tracing pictures out of old storybooks. V n
5 n-count A traceof something is a very small amount of it.
usu N of n
Wash them in cold water to remove all traces of sand...
6 n-count A trace is a sign which shows you that someone or something has been in a place.
usu N of n, also without N
There's been no trace of my aunt and uncle..., Finally, and mysteriously, Hoffa disappeared without trace.
7 If you say that someone or something sinks without trace or sinks without a trace, you mean that they stop existing or stop being successful very suddenly and completely.
sink without trace/sink without a trace phrase V inflects The Social Democratic Party has sunk without trace at these elections... trace back →
trace element ( trace elements plural )
1 n-count A trace element is a chemical element such as iron or zinc that occurs in very small amounts in living things and is necessary for normal growth and development.
2 n-count A trace element is a very small amount of a chemical element that is found in a metal or other substance.