trace Definition

  • 1a mark, object, or other indication of the existence or passing of something
  • 2a very small quantity, especially one too small to be accurately measured
  • 3find or discover by investigation

Using trace: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "trace" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The detective found a trace of blood on the carpet.

  • Example

    There is no trace of the missing documents.

  • Example

    She left without a trace.

  • Example

    The recipe calls for a trace of nutmeg.

  • Example

    The police are trying to trace the source of the call.

trace Synonyms and Antonyms

Antonyms for trace

Idioms Using trace

  • completely disappearing or leaving no evidence behind


    The plane vanished without a trace.

  • trace one's steps

    to retrace the path or route that one has taken previously


    He realized he had lost his keys and decided to trace his steps back to the car.

  • to not leave any evidence or impact on the environment or surroundings


    The hikers were reminded to leave no trace and pack out all their trash.

Phrases with trace

  • a chemical element present only in minute amounts in a particular sample or environment


    Zinc is an essential trace element in the human diet.

  • a fossilized structure, such as a footprint, that formed in sedimentary rock by animal activity on or within soft sediment


    The trace fossil of a dinosaur footprint was discovered in the sandstone.

  • to find the origin or cause of something by examining the past events or evidence


    The history of the family can be traced back to the 16th century.

Origins of trace

from Old French 'tracier', meaning 'to make a track'


Summary: trace in Brief

The term 'trace' [treɪs] refers to a mark, object, or indication of something's existence or passing. It can also denote a very small quantity, as in 'The recipe calls for a trace of nutmeg.' The verb form means to find or discover by investigation, as in 'The police are trying to trace the source of the call.' Phrases like 'trace element' and 'trace fossil' extend the concept, while idioms like 'without a trace' and 'trace one's steps' add figurative meanings.

How do native speakers use this expression?