1 FIND SB/STH to find someone or something that has disappeared by searching for them carefully: She had given up all hope of tracing her missing daughter.2 ORIGINS to find the origins of something, or where something came from: trace sth (back) to: 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 paper5 DRAW 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 use special electronic equipment to find out who made a telephone call— traceable adjective 2 noun1 SIGN OF STH (C, U) a small sign that shows that someone or something was present or existed: no trace: There was no trace of anyone having entered the room since then. | all trace: Petra's lost all trace of her German accent. | any trace: Officers were unable to find any trace of drugs. | disappear/vanish/sink without trace (=disappear completely, without leaving any sign of what happened): The Roanoke colony vanished without trace.2 SMALL AMOUNT (C) a very small amount of a quality, emotion, substance etc that is difficult to see or notice(+ of): I saw the faintest trace of a smile cross Sandra's face. | traces of poison3 TELEPHONE (C) technical a search to find out where a telephone call came from, using special electronic equipment: The police were able to put a trace on the call.4 INFORMATION RECORDED (C) 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 kick over the traces to stop following the rules of a social group and do what you want6 CART/CARRIAGE (C) one of the two pieces of leather, rope etc by which a cart or carriage is fastened to the animal that is pulling it
Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.