[ ri-treys ]
/ rɪˈtreɪs /

verb (used with object), re·traced, re·trac·ing.

to trace backward; go back over: to retrace one's steps.
to go back over with the memory.
to go over again with the sight or attention.

Nearby words

  1. retorsion,
  2. retort,
  3. retortion,
  4. retouch,
  5. retox,
  6. retract,
  7. retractable,
  8. retractile,
  9. retraction,
  10. retraction nystagmus

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


[ ree-treys ]
/ riˈtreɪs /

verb (used with object), re-traced, re-trac·ing.

to trace again, as lines in writing or drawing.
Also retrace.

Origin of re-trace

First recorded in 1750–60; re- + trace1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for retrace

British Dictionary definitions for retrace


/ (rɪˈtreɪs) /

verb (tr)

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


/ (riːˈtreɪs) /


(tr) to trace (a map, drawing, etc) again
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper