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English definition of “trace”

trace

verb [T] uk   /treɪs/ us  

trace verb [T] (FIND)

C1 to find someone or something that was lost: The police are trying to trace the mother of a newborn baby found abandoned outside a hospital. Attempts to trace the whereabouts of a man seen leaving the scene of the crime have so far been unsuccessful. Their missing daughter was finally traced to (= found in) Manchester. C1 to find the origin of something: The phone company were unable to trace the call. No one has yet been able to trace the source of the rumour. to discover the cause or origin of something by examining the way in which it has developed: The outbreak of food poisoning was traced to some contaminated shellfish. The practice of giving eggs at Easter can be traced back to festivals in ancient China. Rivalries between the gangs can be traced back to (= first happened in) the 1950s in some black and Hispanic neighbourhoods. to describe the way in which something has developed: The film traces the events leading up to the Russian Revolution in 1917.

trace verb [T] (DRAW)

to copy a drawing or pattern, etc. by drawing over its lines through a thin piece of transparent paper: Did you draw this picture yourself, or did you trace it? She learned to write her name by tracing out the letters. to draw a shape by showing the main or outer lines: The child was tracing patterns in/on the sand with a stick.

trace

noun uk   /treɪs/ us  

trace noun (SIGN/RECORD)

B2 [C or U] a sign that something has happened or existed: He attempted to cover up all the traces of his crime. When she moved out, she left no trace of having been there. My wallet has been missing for several days and I can't find any trace of it. He seems to have vanished without (a) trace (= no one knows where he is). [C] an act of finding information about something electronically, or the record of the information found in this way: The phone company put a trace on the call.

trace noun (SLIGHT AMOUNT)

[C] a very slight amount: Traces of drugs were found in his blood. There is just a trace of grey in his hair. She speaks English without the slightest trace of an accent. There was the faintest trace of a smile on her lips. "How wonderful!" she said, without any trace of sarcasm.
(Definition of trace from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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