Share this entry
retrace Syllabification: re·trace
Pronunciation: /rēˈtrās/

Definition of retrace in English:


[with object]
1Go back over (the same route that one has just taken): he began to retrace his steps to the parking lot
More example sentences
  • There was no surge of adrenalin, as Deidre turned around and wearily retraced her steps.
  • Some nights when I cannot sleep I retrace in my mind some of my favorite walks through the city.
  • For me, the slow pace of our walk had not just meant taking in all that I came across, but also trying to retrace those steps I had taken with my grandfather.
1.1Discover and follow (a route or course taken by someone else): I’ve tried to retrace some of her movements
More example sentences
  • They were retracing the route that originally took their explorers to Kantus, the first inhabited planet Earth had ever come in contact with besides their own.
  • They retraced the way Tari went, into the village square.
  • In her later travels she visited Dove Cottage, retraced Wordsworth's walks, and wrote about him and his sister.
1.2Trace (something) back to its source or beginning: I wanted to retrace a particular evolutionary pathway
More example sentences
  • To grasp the distinctive character of Art Since 1900, it is worth briefly retracing the evolution of Krauss's ideas.
  • According to Bono the theme of the video is loosely based around scenes from his youth and retracing them, but more than this it is a ‘tribute to my old-man Bob.’
  • He returns to his childhood in Littlestone-on-Sea, the Mixed Room at the golf club and finds happiness and comfort in retracing his youth and his days in the army.


Late 17th century: from French retracer.

Definition of retrace in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources