Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

trace

 - definition
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
verb [transitive] trace pronunciation in British English /treɪs/ 
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theytrace
he/she/ittraces
present participletracing
past tensetraced
past participletraced

Related dictionary definitions

  1. 1
    to find someone or something that you are looking for by asking questions and getting information

    Detectives have so far failed to trace the missing woman.

    trace someone to something:

    They finally traced him to a town in Sicily.

    1. a.
      to discover the origin of something or how it developed

      Rita decided to trace her family roots.

      trace something back to something:

      Many phobias can be traced back to childhood experiences.

      trace something to something:

      The bug was traced to milk from a farm in Yorkshire.

phrase

creep

used with other nouns to describe the unexpected and often unwanted effects of a particular situation or trend

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

sandwich woman

a woman in middle age who has to juggle caring for teenage children and ageing parents with a career

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog