trace back

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trace back

1. To derive or originate from someone, something, or some place. The powerful corporation traces back nearly 200 years to a small manufacturing company in New York City. Investigators discovered that the drug money traced back to a US senator.
2. To discover the point of origin of someone or something by following a trail of information or series of events backward. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "trace" and "back." We were able to trace the assassination attempt back to a cartel in Mexico. Make sure you only pay in cash, as the police can trace back exactly where and when you use your card.
See also: back, trace

trace back

v.
1. To ascertain the successive stages in the development or progress of something by reasoning backward from an effect to a cause: We traced our family history back 200 years. Skepticism as a philosophical movement can be traced back to Sextus Empiricus.
2. To derive from something or someone: The counterfeit drugs traced back to an American expatriate. Many English words trace back to Greek or Latin.
See also: back, trace
References in periodicals archive ?
Emirates and Pakistan have a shared history tracing back over 30 years when the airline's flight landed in Karachi on October 25, 1985.
"Teaching Genealogy to Young People" is enhanced with blank materials and forms to help young genealogists get started by tracing back their own family history.
By tracing back in time the positions and velocities of stars in a stream, theorists can figure out the distribution of matter--mostly dark matter--that drew the stars out of the cluster, comments Kathryn Johnston of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.
By tracing back the grave violations of both international and American laws exemplified by the notorious torture in Abu Ghraib to earlier American adventures in Vietnam and later in Latin America, it brilliantly deconstructs the "a few bad apples" argument.
It's a programme guaranteed to fascinate and follows similar successful programmes on other TV channels tracing back family roots.
The site has an industrial history tracing back some 150 years, but has been vacant since International Harvester ceased production there in 1984.
However, correspondence with that institution brought a quick end to the trail: the women who had delivered the then-preschoolers to the orphanage seemed to have been posing in familial roles, so tracing back from the information given by them was impossible.