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See more synonyms for retrace on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), re·traced, re·trac·ing.
  1. to trace backward; go back over: to retrace one's steps.
  2. to go back over with the memory.
  3. to go over again with the sight or attention.
  4. re-trace.
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Origin of retrace

1690–1700; < French retracer, Middle French retracier, equivalent to re- re- + tracier to trace1
Related formsre·trace·a·ble, adjectivere·trace·ment, nounnon·re·trace·a·ble, adjective


verb (used with object), re-traced, re-trac·ing.
  1. to trace again, as lines in writing or drawing.
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Also retrace.

Origin of re-trace

First recorded in 1750–60; re- + trace1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for retrace

Historical Examples

  • But he did not retrace his steps in order to remonstrate with her severely in the street.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • With what emotions would she trace and retrace her own eventful story!

  • I knew it must be near noontime, so I began to retrace my way.

  • They turned, and with Sim between them Ralph and Rotha began to retrace their steps.

  • Yoga Rama repeatedly asked me to trace and retrace all the letters of the name.


    W. W. Baggally

British Dictionary definitions for retrace


verb (tr)
  1. to go back over (one's steps, a route, etc) againwe retraced the route we took last summer
  2. to go over (a past event) in the mind; recall
  3. to go over (a story, account, etc) from the beginning
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Derived Formsretraceable, adjectiveretracement, noun


  1. (tr) to trace (a map, drawing, etc) again
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for retrace


1690s, from French retracer "to trace again," from Middle French retracier, from re- "again" (see re-) + tracier "to trace" (see trace (v.)). Related: Retraced; retracing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper