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as in:  trace a picture or outline

She used her finger to trace a rout on the map.
  copy the lines of an image; or draw an outline; or carefully draw a specific pattern

(see word notes for a more detailed definition based upon context)
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trace traces traced tracing
This sense of trace has to do with drawing, but it’s specific meaning depends on its context. Here are some representative samples by category:

  • copying the outline of an image

    • "She used tracing paper to make a copy." — paper you can see through, so that when it is placed on a picture, you can use a pencil to follow the lines of the image being copied
    • She projected the image onto the wall, then hung a sheet of paper there, and traced the projected image onto the paper." — followed the lines with her pencil

  • draw an outline or a specific pattern

    • "She used her toe to trace half the fish symbol in the sand." — draw a simple outline
    • "The child used a stick to trace circles and swirls in the mud." — draw

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  • She used her finger to trace a rout on the map.
  • She used a stick to trace a mysterious symbol on the sand.
  • She didn’t have a camera or a copier, so she used a pencil to trace an outline of the picture on thin paper.
  • She used a projector and a pencil to trace an image of an eagle on the paper and then filled in the painting with water colors.

  • Show more
  • Boxer could not get beyond the letter D. He would trace out A, B, C, D, in the dust with his great hoof, and then would stand staring at the letters with his ears back, sometimes shaking his forelock, trying with all his might to remember what came next and never succeeding.
    George Orwell  --  Animal Farm
  • Her fingers were tracing the book’s outline and as the shape became familiar her face looked surprised and then stunned.
    Ray Bradbury  --  Fahrenheit 451
  • He pulled Harry’s wand from his pocket and began to trace it through the air, writing three shimmering words: TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE Then he waved the wand once, and the letters of his name rearranged themselves: I AM LORD VOLDEMORT
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • The letter was an incredible treasure, proof that Lily Potter had lived, really lived, that her warm hand had once moved across this parchment, tracing ink into these letters, these words, words about him, Harry, her son.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • My fingers trace the circle around the little gold mockingjay and I think of the woods, and of my father, and of my mother and Prim waking up, having to get on with things.
    Suzanne Collins  --  The Hunger Games
  • He picked up a small stick and traced in the dirt.
    Ben Mikaeslen  --  Touching Spirit Bear

  • Show more again
  • They got to work, tracing from original Maps to wax paper, one by one, trying to keep it clean and correct while hurrying as fast as possible.
    James Dashner  --  The Maze Runner
  • I reached out and touched it, remembering the way those brushstrokes felt. I traced them until my finger fell off the edge of the canvas. I traced them until my finger fell off the edge of the canvas.
    John Corey Whaley  --  Nogin
  • My fingers obsessively trace the hard little lump on my forearm where the woman injected the tracking device.
    Suzanne Collins  --  The Hunger Games
  • All right, everybody trace the last ten or so days onto a piece of this stuff.
    James Dashner  --  The Maze Runner
  • But Teresa, sitting next to him, was a study in concentration, her tongue sticking out the corner of her mouth as she traced lines up and down, side to side.
    James Dashner  --  The Maze Runner
  • "I think we’ll start with your mouth."
    I clamp my teeth together as she teasingly traces the outline of my lips with the tip of the blade.
    Suzanne Collins  --  The Hunger Games
  • Cole traced the eraser of his pencil across the table.
    Ben Mikaeslen  --  Touching Spirit Bear
  • Silently, they did as he asked, sorting through what they’d traced until eight low stacks of wax paper lined the table.
    James Dashner  --  The Maze Runner
  • Newt had three or four Gladers help us trace the Maps.
    James Dashner  --  The Maze Runner
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Associated words [difficulty]:   trace [1]
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