Definition of “trace” - English Dictionary

“trace” in British English

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traceverb [ T ]

uk /treɪs/ us /treɪs/

trace verb [ T ] (FIND)

C1 to find someone or something that was lost:

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 was unable to trace the call.
No one has yet been able to trace the source of the rumour.

to discover the causes or origins of something by examining the way in which it has developed:

The outbreak of food poisoning was traced to some contaminated shellfish.
She has traced her family history back to the seventeenth century.
The practice of giving eggs at Easter can be traced back to (= first happened in) festivals in ancient China.

to describe the way in which something has developed:

The film traces the events leading up to the Russian Revolution in 1917.

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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.

tracenoun

uk /treɪs/ us /treɪs/

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.

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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 any 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 Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“trace” in American English

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traceverb [ T ]

us /treɪs/

trace verb [ T ] (FIND)

to find someone or something by searching carefully:

Police are trying to trace the mother of the abandoned baby.
The phone company was unable to trace the call (= find where it came from).

To trace something is also to discover its cause or origin:

They trace their family back to the early settlers.

To trace something is also to describe the way it developed:

The movie traces the events leading up to the Russian Revolution.

trace verb [ T ] (DRAW)

to copy a drawing, pattern, etc. by drawing its lines on a thin piece of paper that is placed over it

tracenoun [ C ]

us /treɪs/

trace noun [ C ] (SLIGHT AMOUNT)

a very slight amount or degree:

There was a trace of a smile on his face,
She speaks English without the slightest trace of an accent.

trace noun [ C ] (FIND)

a mark or sign that something happened or existed:

They found traces of a lost civilization in the jungle.
He vanished without a trace.

(Definition of “trace” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“trace” in Business English

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traceverb [ T ]

uk /treɪs/ us

to follow the movements, progress, or development of something:

We traced the manufacturing process from the arrival of the raw materials to the shipment of the final product.

to find someone or something:

Will you trace the origin of these orders, please?

to describe the way in which something has developed:

The main aim of this project is to trace the history of the Keynesian revolution.

tracenoun [ C ]

uk /treɪs/ us

the process of searching for something that has been lost:

put a trace on sth We have put a trace on your missing luggage.

(Definition of “trace” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)