trace noun

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