Main definitions of trace in English

: trace1trace2

trace1

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Find or discover by investigation.

    ‘police are trying to trace a white van seen in the area’
    • ‘The occupants of the BMW have never been traced despite an extensive police investigation.’
    • ‘Detectives want to trace a blue Fluid denim jacket and a pair of black Rockwood shoes left in the car, which may have been thrown away or given to someone.’
    • ‘Trolleys were loaded with boxes of cash and hidden under rubbish before being smuggled out of the bank into a waiting white transit van that has still not been traced.’
    • ‘Police are trying to trace a white Ford Escort about ten years old in connection with a spate of thefts from vehicles in the Marlborough and Pewsey areas on Saturday.’
    • ‘Police also say they want help in tracing a Bedford van which was stolen from Abney Close in the Heeley area of Sheffield.’
    • ‘She gave a false name and address but was traced when the details did not match those held by the DVLA.’
    • ‘Police have so far been unable to trace the white Conway trailer, but a cheque from the Donnes has gone some way to lifting the youngster's spirits.’
    • ‘Skipton detectives have told how they launched their biggest ever child pornography investigation to trace a Cross Hills man who posted images of abuse on the internet.’
    • ‘Inquires conducted at the time resulted in a sighting of a man, who was never traced but later eliminated from the investigation.’
    • ‘Gardaí are also looking to trace a white Subaru car, which was sighted around Borris at the time.’
    • ‘Police are trying to trace anyone the teenager may have spoken to on line and say he may have used the name DJ or possibly Dee Jay.’
    • ‘Detectives are keen to trace a white camper van and its occupants.’
    • ‘They are also extremely anxious to trace a Bedford van, believed to have been stolen from the Heeley area of Sheffield only hours before the murder was committed.’
    • ‘What was dismissed as a ‘third-rate burglary’ was eventually traced to the White House.’
    • ‘Police traced the stolen VW Polo and discovered it had been stolen from a house in Park Road, Prestwich.’
    • ‘He also warned bogus account holders who have not yet been contacted by Revenue that tax officials are conducting further investigations to trace all such persons.’
    • ‘Detectives in Salford are trying to trace the two men in a white van who tried to abduct the boy from the street in Little Hulton on Thursday evening.’
    • ‘Despite an extensive investigation, the parents have not been traced and the circumstances of the birth remain a matter of speculation.’
    • ‘Now Lloyd and Debbie Peters, who moved to Australia from Hockley, are calling for help in tracing the white Havenese dog who ran off while being groomed.’
    • ‘Detectives eventually traced Young, who was living in Glasgow with a wife and children.’
    track down, find, discover, detect, unearth, uncover, turn up, hunt down, dig up, ferret out, run to ground
    find the source of, find the origins of, find the roots of, follow to its source, source
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Find or describe the origin or development of.
      ‘Bob's book traces his flying career with the RAF’
      • ‘Considering this, it is not surprising that the dance's origins can be traced back to the roaring twenties - the time of the flappers and the first Miss America contest.’
      • ‘On the contrary much of what is taken to be so distinctive about the Victorians can be traced back to eighteenth-century developments that have featured in this volume.’
      • ‘Debates over who is the best ball-flyer, who gets the most sleep, and who eats the most dog, can be traced to the origins of our profession.’
      • ‘The origins of the pudding can be traced to the commercial developments of the city between 1685 and 1825.’
      • ‘There were some 20 years between these commercial clunkers, yet the same thread of dull-wittedness can be traced through the origins of both.’
      • ‘Although these developments are unexpected, their origins can be traced to China's 1996 military exercises.’
      • ‘The computer, one of the greatest discoveries of all times, was born in his head, the head of a man whose origins can be traced to Bulgaria.’
      • ‘The history of these games can be traced to the early development of gaming on PCs, consoles, and various other platforms.’
      • ‘The origins of this state of laws can be traced to the development of feudalism and the consequent horizontal and vertical associations that were created in the British body politic.’
      • ‘The difference this time around can be traced to four new developments.’
      • ‘This is without question the first book to trace the origins of black baseball's institutional development.’
      • ‘Like most of the terms that refer to major conceptual anchors of the western intellectual tradition, its origins may be traced to classical antiquity.’
      • ‘This was the most intricate painting of the show, as well as the most recent, and its development could be traced in the predecessors that hung around it.’
      • ‘It is still an ethos that is found in contemporary pubs, particularly in rural and remote regions, yet its cultural origins can be traced back to colonial mores.’
      • ‘Their high performance can be traced to two developments.’
      • ‘Again, its origins can be traced to Fagen's school days.’
      • ‘Each book does a splendid job of tracing the origins and development of a religious doctrine and its impact on the mundane world.’
      • ‘Its origins can be traced back to as 1085 when King Alfonso VI of Castle reigned here.’
      • ‘Its origin has been traced back as far as 1856 by noted historian John Ridge.’
      • ‘Twenty-one Presidents can be traced back to seventeenth-century origins among New England colonists.’
    2. 1.2 Follow or mark the course or position of (something) with one's eye, mind, or finger.
      ‘through the binoculars, I traced the path I had taken the night before’
      • ‘Slowly realization dawned onto him and he suddenly wrapped his own arms around her waist, a single finger tracing her spine upwards and then back downward again.’
      • ‘His small face flushed with delight, his finger tracing the print of the title.’
      • ‘By the time it registered in my mind I was tracing the ugly teal tiles with my fingernail.’
      • ‘She felt Molly's tiny fingers gently tracing her necklace.’
      • ‘There are people who can ‘read’ what a CD's print letters say by tracing it with their fingers.’
      • ‘His finger traced the institute on the map, and the trail to the rest of the Yellow society.’
      • ‘Dragging her left hand up his chest flirtatiously, Jessie stopped at his lips, softly tracing them with her fingers.’
      • ‘He was gazing out the window and his fingers were tracing the scar on his cheek.’
      • ‘Panama is absent-mindedly traced by someone's finger.’
      • ‘It had claw marks across its wooden panels, and when I traced them with my finger I decided that they were far too big to be from some kind of animal.’
      • ‘She paused, staring at the back, one finger gently tracing the black rune that appeared to have been burned into it.’
      • ‘She stared at it, her fingers tracing the indents were small crystal diamonds filled the interior lining.’
      • ‘Yohanna's fingers traced a silver crescent mark on the babe's forehead and in that brief moment Yohanna recognized her.’
      • ‘His fingers traced the sides of my face, like a child would who was examining the skin of a grandparent.’
      • ‘My hand went automatically to my own neck, my soft fingers tracing the violet spirals adorning my pale back.’
      • ‘He wiped a bead of water off my lip, his strong fingers tracing my lips for a moment as he got closer.’
      • ‘I felt what I imagined to be someone's fingers tracing the outline of my face.’
      • ‘He reached out his hand and his fingers traced her laughing smile.’
      • ‘His fingers trace the headlines and the picture captions; then he gives up and his lips cease to move.’
      • ‘She studied them with her own fingers, tracing each scar and noticing his gaze through her eyelashes.’
    3. 1.3 Take (a particular path or route)
      ‘a tear traced a lonely path down her cheek’
      • ‘I screamed, tears tracing paths down my cheeks.’
      • ‘I watched in horror as he shivered, streams of tears tracing paths through the dust on his cheeks.’
      • ‘The Sun crosses the celestial equator from north to south as it traces its apparent annual path against the background of stars.’
      • ‘A narrow stance, where the rear, downhill skate nearly traces the same path as the lead skate, makes it easier to steer them across and if necessary, up the hill to cut short your run.’
      • ‘The trajectory is the path traced by the center of gravity of the projectile from the origin to the level point.’
      • ‘A lone tear traced its path down Serena's face as she set off into the forest, holding Gideon's hand tightly.’
      • ‘A mounting swell of emotion crested in his soul, then broke like a storm-tossed wave on the shore of his heart, and he wept, silvery tears tracing down his pale cheeks.’
      • ‘Deirdre murmured, a tear tracing a path down her cheek, from sympathy, or from the bruises Alana was probably inflicting, he had no idea.’
      • ‘A single tear traced its course down her cheek and dropped softly to be absorbed by the wood.’
      • ‘Last year Toti and the chef traced the route Giffords planned to take and visited local farmers' markets to talk directly to farmers in order to ensure the circus kitchen was fully stocked.’
      • ‘Tears traced a familiar path down her dirty face.’
      • ‘More tears fell from her eyes and traced the preceding paths of tears.’
      • ‘The spaceship traced out a complex path across the desk, leaving a faint red screw-thread line floating in the air.’
      • ‘A lonely tear traced a path much traveled down her cheek, but she wiped it away.’
      • ‘Viewers follow her progression slowly as she bides her time and moves through life confident of the path she is tracing.’
      • ‘Debussy's quartet moves like a snake through the forest, tracing an unpredictable, yet in hindsight inevitable, path.’
      • ‘He lay back on the mattress, looking up at the ceiling, as the single tear tracing down his cheeks was lost among the sea of swelling purple and black.’
      • ‘It is a scramble, but it's not difficult and, if the crest is too airy for you, it's easy enough to trace a less exposed route on the east side of the ridge.’
      • ‘Day after day I trace a pleasant, safe path into and out of nice little towns and villages, along soft verged roads and through gentle, rolling landscapes down to a calm sea.’
      • ‘She turned her head away, the tears beginning to trace paths through the thin layer of sand coating her cheeks.’
  • 2Copy (a drawing, map, or design) by drawing over its lines on a superimposed piece of transparent paper.

    ‘trace a map of the world on to a large piece of paper’
    • ‘I had prepared a template for two portraits, which they traced onto their paper.’
    • ‘Making clones of clones is like tracing a master painting through thin paper and expecting the copy to appear just as perfect as the original.’
    • ‘They first drew their portrait on paper before tracing the sketch on to the fabric.’
    • ‘If you are not confident in your drawing skills, you may want to use a piece of tracing paper and trace the image you would to place on the rubber stamp.’
    • ‘This silhouette or ‘side view’ became a pattern from which a second, identical piece could be traced and cut out.’
    • ‘Then, using a light table, students traced their enlarged drawings onto good student quality watercolor paper.’
    • ‘Neither the original nor the projected copy have been traced.’
    • ‘Between the cups, the center band or center front piece can be traced while still attached to the other half of the bra.’
    • ‘Last, the sketch was held firmly against the watercolor paper, while the outline of the shoe design was gently traced over with pencil.’
    • ‘The implication of Pennell's comment is that Vermeer might have copied or traced the outlines of an image and in this way obtained relative sizes for the objects depicted.’
    • ‘With a pencil, draw or trace your preferred image onto the paper.’
    • ‘The students can either start this with a new drawing, trace the one they already made or even photocopy the first one to save time.’
    • ‘Using graphite paper, they traced their portrait onto the map pieces.’
    • ‘When the colored pieces had all been traced, students used high-gloss polyurethane to paint both sides of the construction paper.’
    • ‘We made a mosaic of the photographs covering each survey zone, and then we traced a new base map off the composite image.’
    • ‘This will help you decide what piece to trace first.’
    • ‘So I used the box to trace out a heart-shaped piece of paper and wrote a Valentine's note to my teacher.’
    • ‘In this instance, I encourage them to trace the drawing or part of it on tracing paper.’
    • ‘Try tracing each plaited mat design, making sure you don't change direction at any intersection.’
    • ‘On butcher paper, trace the outline of the chair seat, then add 1 inch around all sides.’
    copy, reproduce, go over, draw over, draw the lines of
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Draw (a pattern or line), especially with one's finger or toe.
      ‘she traced a pattern in the dirt with the toe of her shoe’
      • ‘Her hand moved over the sand slowly, tracing out strange patterns he couldn't distinguish.’
      • ‘He realised for the first time that his left arm had wrapped around her other side to hold her in an embrace, and that his fingers were tracing small circles over her stomach.’
      • ‘She lay in his arms, her head resting on his chest, her fingers tracing random, abstract patterns on his chest.’
      • ‘His hand gripped the hilt of his sword, the blade drawn but down so the point traced a line in the snow.’
      • ‘Now, with your finger, trace a few quick lines in the heap, imposing some sort of visual rhythm.’
      • ‘His finger traced a light circle around the wound.’
      • ‘My finger traced a smiley face onto one of the condensation-covered windows of Matt's car as it pulled onto the grass that was my grandmother's driveway.’
      • ‘I knew where his hands were on my back, I could feel the patterns he was tracing with his fingers, where my hands were behind his neck, the fireworks exploding in my head.’
      • ‘I started tracing a weird, abstract pattern of something or other on her window that had fogged in the cold afternoon.’
      • ‘Sighing, Jeff looked downward, his fingers tracing out a pattern on the counter.’
      • ‘She dipped her hand in the fountain, her fingers tracing lazy eights.’
      • ‘He reached up with one dirty finger, tracing a tiny smile in the fog he had made.’
      • ‘Dust had collected on the tube's surface, turning Nick's finger a dark gray once he ran his finger across it, tracing a clear streak across the cloudy tube.’
    2. 2.2 Give an outline of.
      ‘the article traces out some of the connections between education, qualifications, and the labour market’
      • ‘Figure 6.3 is a useful alternative way of looking at this issue since it traces out combinations of prices for the two markets which yield the same levels of consumer surplus or profits.’

noun

  • 1A mark, object, or other indication of the existence or passing of something.

    ‘remove all traces of the old adhesive’
    mass noun ‘the aircraft disappeared without trace’
    • ‘Surely our leaders would be better engaged to remove all traces of film music from our holy places rather than chasing female marathon runners.’
    • ‘The pistol was cleaned with liberal applications of Crud Cutter until there were no traces of old lube remaining.’
    • ‘It was just this cleansing oil that's supposed to remove all traces of makeup so you are ready to go sleep with no risk of clogged pores.’
    • ‘This step stimulates the circulation, reduces oiliness, helps to refine the pores and skin texture, and removes the last traces of grease, dead cells and grime, and firms the skin.’
    • ‘But after she underwent chemotherapy, minor surgery and radiotherapy, all traces of the tumour disappeared.’
    • ‘Gold's faster-paced songs had a vacant way of flowing through you and leaving no residual traces of their passing.’
    • ‘Is it they way they take previously nice pubs and turn them into standardised bright yellow tackfests, thus removing all traces of character and individuality?’
    • ‘Next my face was cleansed to remove impurities and all traces of make-up.’
    • ‘The building of the Bow flyover removed all traces of the old bridge, and the River Lea is now barely visible beside the dual carriageway beneath.’
    • ‘This is further refined by carbon filtration to remove any traces of molasses before crystallization.’
    • ‘But I think that even if I get rid of all visible traces, that mark of vulnerability that he's left on my home will remain for a long time to come.’
    • ‘It has written to all the parties to warn them to remove all traces of the posters within the allotted timeframe and said some local authorities are offering a recycling service to encourage the process.’
    • ‘Remove all traces of a normal childhood, market him well and watch as he rises to superstardom.’
    • ‘While the vast majority of films disappeared without a trace, a few ones survived the passage of time and retained their appeal.’
    • ‘Kelly takes pains to disguise them, to remove all traces of expression.’
    • ‘Remove remaining traces of wax with a cloth moistened with mineral spirits (paint thinner) or cream furniture wax.’
    • ‘In this case, it removes any traces of sympathy I might have had.’
    • ‘Today, they had disappeared without a trace, not even in evidence on a remainder table.’
    • ‘A gambler would probably ask how many zeroes need to be added to the donation for all traces of morality to disappear.’
    • ‘Following the inspector's decision, Mr Crawford has six months to remove all traces of the extension.’
    vestige, sign, mark, indication, suggestion, evidence, clue
    trail, track, spoor, marks, tracks, prints, imprints, footprints, footmarks, footsteps
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A line or pattern displayed by an instrument to show the existence or nature of something which is being recorded or measured.
      • ‘A total of 16.4 million DNA sequencing traces were processed using the pipeline depicted in Figure 1.’
      • ‘Only recently have correlators become available that can also record the intensity traces.’
      • ‘The duration of the stimulus presentation was synchronized with the refresh traces of the monitor.’
      • ‘Computer analysis of the trace is used to retrieve the spectral phase of the input pulse (a).’
      • ‘Baxter must now wait to see if the IOC will agree to a second test to establish the nature of the trace detected.’
      • ‘Objective responses are recorded on a polygraph trace.’
      • ‘It records the trace of that one-minute or twenty seconds - which can seem very long - of standing face to face with another person.’
      • ‘The traces were recorded at different voltages.’
      • ‘The consensus model presented here is derived from the results of analyzing only six traces recorded in response to a single perturbation.’
      • ‘During recognition, the probe accesses the traces of all studied items in parallel.’
      • ‘Sequencing traces were processed using Sequencher (Gene Codes, Ann Arbor, MI).’
      • ‘Fig.2 A shows typical current traces recorded for synaptophysin channels.’
      • ‘A direct writing electrocardiograph was attached, and I was offered the trace.’
      • ‘When the Bug detects Mr. Grout, we expect to see spikes in the neural traces displayed on the lower half of the monitor.’
      • ‘In this instance, 10 traces were recorded simultaneously, in real time (only one trace is shown in the figure).’
      • ‘It is a trace of the electrical activity of the human brain.’
    2. 1.2 A physical change in the brain presumed to be caused by a process of learning or memory.
      • ‘They came to him evanescently, and left without leaving a trace in his memory - so brief and so quick.’
      • ‘According to models of episodic memory, contextual similarity is a driving force in influencing the probability of the retrieval of an episodic trace.’
      • ‘Vague traces of memory returned to her with the rush-slap of waves against the sides of the boat and the pregnant silence of the company.’
      • ‘The dim light makes the figures in the background literally hard to see, as if they were fleeting traces of memory, just beyond the viewer's grasp.’
      • ‘Mean familiarity across all traces in memory indexes the likelihood that a match response is elicited.’
      • ‘Reconstruction of the mental trace in a complex process, after the fact, is a major challenge as few realize.’
      • ‘Remote traces of their memory still seemed to exist somewhere in me.’
      • ‘This allows us to assess whether response information is included in the episodic trace, as has been suggested by Neill.’
      • ‘Yet they remain as traces in the memory of country.’
      • ‘Commitment to memory or a given past is weak if its physical trace is planned to be removable and possibly replaced.’
      • ‘The palace at Versailles was for Louis a haunted house in which spectres of his great-grandfather mingled with the memories and traces of his lost loved ones.’
      • ‘Maintaining a large number of memory traces over long time periods has biological costs, which might be greater than the costs of allowing some traces to deteriorate.’
      • ‘But of course, traces of his memory still lingered in the back of her head, just waiting to be re-awakened.’
      • ‘In addition to encoding stimulus intensity information into the episodic trace, it is likely that response information is encoded.’
      • ‘Greg Edmonson's fractured landscapes show traces of memory that linger as layers within the spaces of our mind.’
      • ‘It's now possible to map music's traces in the brain, study its impact on the immune system, and listen to the songs of black holes and living cells.’
      • ‘You dilute the active ingredient down till there's just a trace or memory, an essence - so it's the vibration of the flower that's working.’
  • 2A very small quantity, especially one too small to be accurately measured.

    ‘his body contained traces of amphetamines’
    as modifier ‘trace quantities of PCBs’
    • ‘The machines get their name because they blast a ‘puff’ of air over a passenger, and the sample is then analyzed for traces of explosives residue.’
    • ‘It'll go away in time, about the same time as you stop leaving traces of explosives residue about the place.’
    • ‘A urine sample contained traces of the drug and Norton faces a six months ban at a disciplinary hearing.’
    • ‘In the early days of DNA testing, samples had to be over a certain size for scientists to work with them, but now the smallest trace of body fluid or even skin flakes can provide a profile.’
    • ‘Ammonia, for example, is present in trace quantities, yet it is considered to be essential in maintaining soils at a pH of around eight, that is, optimal for sustaining life.’
    • ‘When it comes to beating a drug test, there are basically three approaches: supply a fake sample, mask drug traces or hold them all in.’
    • ‘If homeopathic theory was correct, the trace amounts of caffeine in decaff ought to have me bouncing off the ceiling.’
    • ‘As science becomes better at measuring small amounts of trace chemicals that are potential carcinogens, the zero risk approach is increasingly restrictive.’
    • ‘The datolite from this locality also showed traces of platinum but in insufficient quantities to be the coloring agent.’
    • ‘Cadmium is found in all soils in at least trace quantities.’
    • ‘Each pit can hold a trace quantity of a chemical that reacts to a certain protein found in the blood.’
    • ‘But finally the state enforced better emissions standards, and the talc disappeared, except for traces here and there.’
    • ‘An autopsy showed high levels of carbon monoxide in her blood as well as traces of amphetamines.’
    • ‘Both the very high residual sugar and the trace materials secreted by the botrytis into the juice inhibit fermentation.’
    • ‘Fairweather suggests this may point towards incoming prisoners changing the type of drugs they use from cannabis, which leaves traces in the body for a long time, to heroin, which is quickly flushed from the body.’
    • ‘In response to revisionist charges, they tested the gas chamber walls for residual traces of cyanide gas but found none.’
    • ‘A trace amount of mercury is more than the body needs.’
    • ‘The hope is that someday people could wear a badge that would turn a color or make a noise when an specific nerve agent is present in trace quantities.’
    • ‘But current studies show that, ingested in the trace amount found in Hinkley's water, or in food, it's harmless.’
    • ‘The dogs are trained to find blood-stained weapons, clothing and property, miniscule traces of blood and body fluid.’
    1. 2.1 A barely discernible indication of something.
      ‘just a trace of a smile’
      • ‘So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin on his face.’
      • ‘A trace of sadness was barely audible in Cattia's flat voice, perhaps such a small sliver of one that only Tania really could pick it up.’
      • ‘There is a faint trace of a smile, but he does not flinch: whatever the honorary boyo's faults, he is unlikely to be bought with a knighthood.’
      • ‘It is a tribute to him that there is barely a trace of tedium in a performance lasting more than four hours.’
      • ‘I could hear the traces of a wistful smile in his voice.’
      • ‘He may be a little world-weary, but behind the half-beard and the straggly locks there's the faintest trace of a smile.’
      • ‘Any trace of a smile that I had on my face at that time fell.’
      • ‘Alex smiled, hiding traces of bitterness from her face.’
      • ‘She rolled her eyes, but a trace of a smile graced her lips.’
      • ‘‘Thanks,’ she said, looking flustered, but I noted that her lips held the traces of a smile.’
      • ‘Josh's breathing grew shallow and a single tear dropped from his eye, but I could see the traces of the smile I loved so much beginning on his face.’
      • ‘But I could see faint traces of a smile starting to appear.’
      • ‘Zach shrugged, the faintest traces of a smile appearing on his lips.’
      • ‘Michan thought he saw the traces of a smile in the Commander's eyes.’
      • ‘The trace of a smile flickered across head coach Wu Jingui's face.’
      • ‘Butler is softly spoken with a trace of an Edinburgh burr still discernible in her gentle Canadian accent.’
      • ‘Gregory smiled, the traces of sadness slowly vanishing.’
      • ‘Her raised chin and an ‘upside-down smile’ reveal traces of disgust, anger, and sadness.’
      • ‘‘You're always damned by the exception,’ Hill says with the slightest trace of a smile.’
      • ‘The boy turned and walked back into the woods, then paused and turned back towards Kevin, all former traces of a smile replaced by a grim anger.’
      bit, spot, speck, touch, hint, suggestion, suspicion, nuance, intimation
      View synonyms
  • 3A procedure to investigate the source of something, such as the place from which a telephone call was made.

    ‘we've got a trace on the call’
    • ‘Witnesses took the number of the car and police conducted a trace on the vehicle.’
    • ‘In the beginning of the film, Trinity is on the phone and we see the computer doing a telephone trace.’
  • 4A line which represents the projection of a curve or surface on a plane or the intersection of a curve or surface with a plane.

    • ‘The axis of the trace is curved slightly to the left.’
    • ‘The sheets are bilobed about a median furrow, visible in both vertical and horizontal sections, and form straight to gently curved, cross-cutting traces.’
    • ‘The thick black curve of Fig.2 illustrates representative traces of tension versus time.’
  • 5North American West Indian A path or track.

    • ‘S'sahr barked an order and there were groans, but the troopers spread out keeping eyes open for any traces or tracks.’
    • ‘Here, however, it came to be another old and enduring track through otherwise treacherous and disorienting terrain, a variation of path and trace.’
    • ‘Path was synonymous with trace, another invaluable gift that pioneers used to penetrate the otherwise impassable.’
  • 6Mathematics
    The sum of the elements in the principal diagonal of a square matrix.

    • ‘There is a clue to the way neural circuits control the disruptive forces of chaos in the trace in Figure 3.’
    • ‘The sum of the eigenvalues is the trace of this matrix and it is sometimes called ‘total variance.’’
    • ‘This paper is more than an extension, however, for in it he used matrices, in particular the trace of a matrix, to greatly simplify the formulas he had presented in his 1926 paper.’

Origin

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 (see tract).

Pronunciation

trace

/treɪs/

Main definitions of trace in English

: trace1trace2

trace2

noun

  • Each of the two side straps, chains, or ropes by which a horse is attached to a vehicle that it is pulling.

    • ‘The horses pulling the carriage suddenly took fright for no apparent reason, snapped the traces and bolted off, startling both the hosts and their guest of honour.’
    • ‘Ales broke off in mid-explanation to dive into the crowd, reappearing clasping a handkerchief waving teenage girl, and yoking her into the cart's rope traces.’

Phrases

  • kick over the traces

    • Become insubordinate or reckless.

      • ‘We were kicking over the traces, stepping into our own power and stepping out to get more.’
      • ‘The rebel son is restless, longs to kick over the traces and seeks personal advancement.’
      • ‘Kapri is as charming as ever it was, the people as odd: everybody is very immoral, but fortunately not so dull as those who kick over the traces often are.’
      • ‘Anil's father went to the UK to study but ended up kicking over the traces and having his hair cut, which was tremendously rebellious for his community at the time.’
      • ‘I sense a certain aimlessness and confusion amongst those of us who keep kicking over the traces, I wonder if God isn't rebuking us for such a perversely inverted lack of grace.’
      • ‘Never mind that you have learned something new, that you have kicked over the traces of your parents.’
      • ‘They're just kids doing what kids do, which is kick over the traces and test their independence.’
      • ‘It was very hard aged 15, 16, 17, at a school like the Academy, at which a great number of my contemporaries were hereditary Tory, hereditary unionist, in their mentality, not to kick over the traces.’
      • ‘Even when there is no intention to kick over the traces, the quiet understanding of compatibles offers a hint of forbidden pleasure.’
      • ‘George is already kicking over the traces - spending too much, drinking too much, gambling too much and, as Amelia dare not admit to herself, consorting adulterously with other women.’

Origin

Middle English (denoting a pair of traces): from Old French trais, plural of trait (see trait).

Pronunciation

trace

/treɪs/