1 mark/sign that shows sb/sth happened/existed
ADJ. archaeological, historical | indelible, permanent | memory (technical)
VERB + TRACE leave The burglar had left several traces of his presence. Little trace is left of how Stone Age people lived. | bear, reveal, show | discover, find The search party had found no trace of the missing climbers. | obliterate, remove Remove all traces of rust with a small wire brush. | disappear/sink/vanish without The ship seems to have sunk without trace.
TRACE + VERB remain Traces still remain of the long-defunct Surrey Iron Railway.
PREP. with/without a ~ of sth ‘No thanks,’ she said, with a trace of irritation in her voice. | without ~ The plane was lost without a trace over the Atlantic.
2 very small amount of sth
ADJ. discernible, faint, minute, slight, small, tiny There was not the faintest trace of irony in her voice. | unmistakable
VERB + TRACE contain The water was found to contain traces of sulphuric acid. | detect, find
TRACE + NOUN amount | element, gas, metal, mineral Kelp is rich in vitamins and trace elements.
PREP. ~ of a trace of amusement/anxiety/a smile
1 find out where sth is/where it comes from
VERB + TRACE be able/unable to, can Police have been unable to trace her movements during her final days. | attempt to, try to | help (to) | fail to | be difficult to | be possible to
PREP. to The stolen paintings have been successfully traced to a London warehouse.
2 find/describe the cause/origin of sth
ADV. carefully | easily Words have over the centuries acquired meanings not easily traced in dictionaries. | directly | historically | back
VERB + TRACE can | attempt to, try to | be difficult to The origins of the custom are difficult to trace. | be possible to
PREP. to The book traces the history of the game back to an incident in 1863.
3 mark where the line of sth is with a thin object
PREP. with She lightly traced the outline of his face with her finger.
ADJ. catatonic, deep | light | hypnotic, mesmeric
VERB + TRANCE fall into, go into | put sb into | come out of, awake/wake from
TRANCE + NOUN state
PREP. in a ~ In a deep trance, the subject is taken back to an earlier stage of their life.