Definition of retrace in English:

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Pronunciation: /rēˈtrās/


[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.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·trace

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