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trace 1  (trs)
a. A visible mark, such as a footprint, made or left by the passage of a person, animal, or thing.
b. Evidence or an indication of the former presence or existence of something; a vestige.
2. A barely perceivable indication; a touch: spoke with a trace of sarcasm.
a. An extremely small amount.
b. A constituent, such as a chemical compound or element, present in quantities less than a standard limit.
4. A path or trail that has been beaten out by the passage of animals or people.
5. A way or route followed.
6. A line drawn by a recording instrument, such as a cardiograph.
7. Mathematics
a. The point at which a line, or the curve in which a surface, intersects a coordinate plane.
b. The sum of the elements of the principal diagonal of a matrix.
8. An engram.
v. traced, trac·ing, trac·es
1. To follow the course or trail of: trace a wounded deer; tracing missing persons.
2. To ascertain the successive stages in the development or progress of: tracing the life cycle of an insect; trace the history of a family.
3. To locate or discover by searching or researching evidence: trace the cause of a disease.
4. To draw (a line or figure); sketch; delineate.
5. To form (letters) with special concentration or care.
a. To copy by following lines seen through a sheet of transparent paper.
b. To follow closely (a prescribed pattern): The skater traced a figure eight.
a. To imprint (a design) by pressure with an instrument on a superimposed pattern.
b. To make a design or series of markings on (a surface) by such pressure on a pattern.
8. To record (a variable), as on a graph.
1. To make ones way along a trail or course: traced through the files.
2. To have origins; be traceable: linguistic features that trace to West Africa.
Occurring in extremely small amounts or in quantities less than a standard limit.

[Middle English, track, from Old French, from tracier, to make ones way, from Vulgar Latin *tractire, from Latin tractus, a dragging, course, from past participle of trahere, to draw.]

tracea·bili·ty n.
tracea·ble adj.
tracea·bly adv.

trace 2  (trs)
1. One of two side straps or chains connecting a harnessed draft animal to a vehicle or whiffletree.
2. A bar or rod, hinged at either end to another part, that transfers movement from one part of a machine to another.

[Middle English trais, from Old French, pl. of trait, a hauling, harness strap, from Latin tractus, a hauling, from past participle of trahere, to haul.]

trace  /tres/  n.adj. 1 a very small amount: Chemists found <n.> traces of poison in the food.||They found <adj.> trace evidence. 2 a hint of evidence, faint track: <n.> Traces of footprints were found in the mud. See: tracing, copy.
v. [T] traced, tracing, traces 1 to follow s.t. to its origin, track down: Agents traced the illegal funds from New York to London to the Middle East. 2 to copy onto thin paper from an image underneath: Children trace letters of the alphabet to learn how to make them.
adj. referring to s.t. that can be traced: Radiologists use a trace element, such as barium sulfate, to show the insides of a body on an X-ray. trace

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