trace

trace1 [treıs] v [T]
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1¦(find somebody/something)¦
2¦(origins)¦
3¦(history/development)¦
4¦(copy)¦
5¦(with your finger)¦
6 trace a call
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[Date: 1200-1300; : Old French; Origin: tracier, from Vulgar Latin tractiare 'to pull', from Latin trahere]
1.) ¦(FIND SOMEBODY/SOMETHING)¦
to find someone or something that has disappeared by searching for them carefully
She had given up all hope of tracing her missing daughter.
Police are trying to trace a young woman who was seen near the accident.
2.) ¦(ORIGINS)¦
to find the origins of when something began or where it came from
trace sth (back) to sth
They've traced their ancestry to Scotland.
The style of these paintings can be traced back to early medieval influences.
3.) ¦(HISTORY/DEVELOPMENT)¦
to study or describe the history, development, or progress of something
Sondheim's book traces the changing nature of the relationship between men and women.
4.) ¦(COPY)¦
to copy a drawing, map etc by putting a piece of transparent paper over it and then drawing the lines you can see through the paper
5.) ¦(WITH YOUR FINGER)¦
to draw real or imaginary lines on the surface of something, usually with your finger or toe
trace sth on/in/across
Rosie's fingers traced a delicate pattern in the sand.
6.) trace a call
to find out where a telephone call is coming from by using special electronic equipment
His call was traced and half an hour later police arrested him.
>traceable adj
trace 2
trace2 n
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1¦(sign of something)¦
2¦(small amount)¦
3¦(telephone)¦
4¦(information recorded)¦
5¦(cart/carriage)¦
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[Sense: 1-4; Date: 1200-1300; : Old French; Origin: tracier; TRACE1]
[Sense: 5; Date: 1300-1400; : Old French; Origin: trais 'traces', plural of trait 'pull, trace'; TRAIT]
1.) ¦(SIGN OF SOMETHING)¦ [U and C]
a small sign that shows that someone or something was present or existed
There was no trace of anyone having entered the room since then.
Petra's lost all trace of her German accent.
Officers were unable to find any trace of drugs.
disappear/vanish/sink without (a) trace
(=disappear completely, without leaving any sign of what happened)
The plane vanished without a trace.
2.) ¦(SMALL AMOUNT)¦
a very small amount of a quality, emotion, substance etc that is difficult to see or notice
trace of
I saw the faintest trace of a smile cross Sandra's face.
traces of poison
3.) ¦(TELEPHONE)¦ technical
a search to find out where a telephone call came from, using special electronic equipment
The police put a trace on the call.
4.) ¦(INFORMATION RECORDED)¦ technical
the mark or pattern made on a ↑screen or on paper by a machine that is recording an electrical signal
This trace shows the heartbeat.
5.) ¦(CART/CARRIAGE)¦
one of the two pieces of leather, rope etc by which a ↑cart or carriage is fastened to an animal pulling it
kick over the traces atkick1 (19)

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

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