trace - definition and synonyms

verb [transitive] 

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present tense
present participletracing
past tensetraced
past participletraced
  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.

  2. 2
    to describe what happened in a long process or series of events

    The book traces the history of the regiment.

  3. 3
    to copy an image by putting transparent paper on top and following the lines with your pencil
    1. a.
      to move your finger, lips etc along something

      He lifted his hand to trace the line of her cheekbone.