trace out(redirected from trace something out)
1. To trace, sketch, or delineate the outline of something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "trace" and "out." He traced out the directions to the cabin on the back of a napkin for me. I'm having a hard time visualizing what you mean. Why don't you trace it out on the whiteboard for us?
2. To develop, determine, or delineate something, such as a pattern or course of events, gradually over a period of time. A noun or pronoun can be used between "trace" and "out." The investigation traced out a pattern of corruption and abuse of power going all the way to the top of the administration. The film portrays the legendary actor's rise to fame, tracing it out from his humble beginnings to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
1. To sketch or delineate something: I laid out the map and traced out the path to the park.
2. To delineate some pattern or development over time: The results traced out an interesting pattern of sudden fluctuations every three months. The biographer traced out the politician's rise to power.
3. To ascertain something by reconstructing a series of events: The police traced out the Internet cafe as the place where the virus was launched. The motive for the crime was so unusual that no one could trace it out.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.