In linguistics, a trace is what is left behind by a word that is moved, especially in constructing questions.

Contrast the following pair of sentences:

Alice and Bob are going to the store.
Who do you wanna go with?

I'm going to the store, and Alice or Bob can go too.
Who do you wanna go with you?*
Does the last sentence sound wrong? It should - it violates the natural grammar of english. When you form a question, the question word is usually the object of a verb in the sentence. The first question could be rewritten as:
You want to go with who?
Admittedly, that sounds strange, but the meaning is the same. So, when you're forming a sentence, you usually move the question word to the beginning. This yields:
Who do you want to go with (t)?
And we can contract "want to" to "wanna", so now we have
Who do you wanna go with (t)?
The (t) is the trace - an unspoken, unwritten part of the sentence, marking the old position of a word that's been shifted. But how do we know it's actually there? Here's proof. We take the second question:
You want who to go with you?
Again, same meaning, different form. Move the "who" to the front, and you get:
Who do you want (t) to go with you?
See, now the trace is between the "want" and the "to" - this is why it sounds wrong to contract "want to" to "wanna" here! The trace is in the way.

TRACE family of macros are used in Visual C++ to print information to the debugging window. The macros are named TRACE0 - TRACE3, where the numbers relate to the number of parameters you will be using.
It is formatted the same as with printf with the use of place holders. There is a limit of 512 characters output (it just truncates it) for each call.

This provides a useful alternative to printf() debugging in the windows environment (which doesn't use printf much).

Criminal/gangland slang, to shoot, or kill.

Cf. Robert B. Parker Double Deuce (1992):

   "We used to standing around," Major said. "Stand around a lot. Stand around sell some sub. Stand around pick up some wiggle, stand around throat a little beverage. Maybe trace somebody."
   "Trace?" I said.
   Major grinned. "You know, line sombody, haul out you nine and..." With his thumb and forefinger he mimicked shooting a handgun.
   "Ah," I said. "Of course."

Possibly derived from the chalk outline marking the location of a body at a crime scene.

The trace of a square matrix M, usually written tr M ,is the sum of the terms on the diagonal, and has the following properties:

  • It is linear: for all numbers a,b and any 2 n x n matrices M and N, tr (a*M +b*N)=a*tr(M) + b*tr(N)
  • For any 2 n x n matrics A and B, tr (AB)=tr(BA). Note that since we are dealing with matrices, this isn't immediately obvious, since matrix multiplication does not commute.

The first statement should be fairly obvious. The proof of the second is fairly easy too. Using summation convention, we have:
tr(A)=aii, thus tr(AB)=(AB)ii


But i hear you asking, "Why should I care?" Here's one reason this might matter. Consider the following the problem. You are given a matrix M that you are told represents a rotation with respect to a certain basis. The question is, what is the angle of the rotation. You know that in the right basis, the matrix for a rotation by θ is

N= |cos θ  sin θ|
   |-sin θ cos θ|
However, we are probably not in the right basis. But if you remember your change of basis formula, you will know that there exists a non singular matrix S such that M = S-1NS
Further more, tr(M)=tr(S-1NS)=tr(NSS-1), using the property of trace; thus tr(M)=tr(N), and therefore tr(M)=2 cos θ
Using inverse trigonometric functions, we may thus find θ (modulo π)

More generally, this shows that the trace of the matrix of an endomorphism is independant of the basis we are using, it therefore makes sense to talk about the trace of an endomorphism.

I can still hear some people wondering why on earth they should care about trace, or for that matter why they should care about matrices. A quick answer would be that matrices are very useful in 3D graphics (among other things) i.e. in Quake and we all care about that!

The story of the alt-country scene was, for the most part, the story of second-rate and third-rate talents mining a great idea for much less than it was worth.

When the seminal and grossly-overrated Uncle Tupelo broke up, the two principal vesicles thereof started other bands: Jeff Tweedy started Wilco, whose critical reputation spirals ever upward as Tweedy's talent vanishes into the bottomless pit of his misdirected ambitions. Jay Farrar founded Son Volt and hit the skids real quick, but before he wore out his welcome, he made Trace.

Trace is Son Volt's first album. It's about evenly divided between generic rote "rockers" that all sound alike and too-serious countryish songs that all sound alike. The critics loved it to pieces. All of the songs but one are instantly forgettable, but on a first listen it sounds pretty good. That's the trouble with "rock critics": They listen to a record twice and move on to the next. Nice little records like this get rave reviews because they're user-friendly right from the get-go; it takes eight or ten listens to understand how utterly hollow and redundant the thing is. Oh, it's well put together: The production is juicy and clear. The drums and acoustic guitars sound round and "alive" like they ought to. The band is sharp and tight. Utility musician Dave Boquist fills the margins with delicious colors and flavors: Guitars, fiddle, banjo, lap steel, dobro. He sounds so good that Jeff Tweedy went out and hired two guys just like him and made Being There, the only good record Wilco will ever make (Max Johnston, the more utile of the two, promptly moved on and joined the Gourds; the other, Jay Bennett, stuck around to help bury everything good about the band as deep as they could dig). Being There looks to me like a blatant attempt to woo the critics away from this record here. It did, too. It's a stunning album, if you disregard the generic rote "rockers" they threw in for filler. Tweedy was great before he tried to become Brian Wilson.

Farrar's got two tricks as a songwriter, but only one as a singer: Every single song gets the same faux-"gritty", fake "wistful", hyper-sincere treatment. He's got a pleasant tone, maybe a bit like an alt-country Stephen Merritt, and his phrasing is okay, but it's all the same. It's a schtick rather than a style, and it's boring. An ad exec at Starbucks or J. Crew would call this stuff "authentic". Not authentic anything in particular; just... "authentic". I guess that's what the critics thought, too. It even fooled me for the first three listens.

The lyrics are an incompetent conglomerate composed of featherweight profundities and cliches, mostly Paleozoic in age: "One-way streets and square one, answers don't come from any one direction." "Live free or die." "The rhythm of the river that will remain." (Oh, please...) "The travelling hands of time." "It's now or never." "Only dogs have their day." Yada yada yada. It's all about driving and rootlessness and staying up late: Very Serious Reflections on a Hard Life, okay. It takes real skill and no little inspiration to find anything interesting in such obvious material; see for example Uncle Merle on "White Line Fever". It also takes a willingness to go for the throat sometimes, but Farrar is too mannered and buttoned-down for that. He succeeds in evoking something about a life lived on interstates in flyover country, but the sounds and images are too broad and too pat. Welcome to the Kountry Kitschen: It's J.D. Souther with diner coffee and cigarettes instead of quaaludes and coke. These songs are artsy black and white photographs straight off the walls of upscale chain stores at your local shopping mall.

Farrar was trying to make a Great Album here, a significant and meaningful album, but he didn't have it in him. He just comes right out and tells us what he wants to say instead of backing off and illustrating it with examples (compare his clouds of smoke to the flood of sharp images in "Misunderstood" on Being There). The band, now, they could have been something special, if they hadn't been backing a second-rater. But they were.

The only good couplet on the whole record is in "Tear Stained Eye":

"St. Genevieve can hold back the water
But saints don't bother with a tear-stained eye."

That's also the only memorable hook on the whole record. There's another one that's a cliche, but he makes it work: "Somewhere along the way, the clock runs out." He spoils that one a moment later with some choice horseshit: "You may be lost, you'll find/just another paradigm."

What's really right about this record is that while Farrar can't write or play rock and roll worth spit, those forgettable countryish songs are damned pleasant to listen to. Take them for what they are: Mood music. As far as that goes, they do the job. Forget the stupid lyrics. The band finds a nice groove in there, built around a tempo derived from windshield wipers, turn signals, and rain. That groove is not a shuffle, but it's a fair substitute, an honest take on the feel or sensibility that country music, at its best, is usually about. Every record collection needs a little filler, doesn't it? Next time you've got to drive somewhere far on a rainy day, take this along, and Being There too. Skip over both of their half-assed fake rock and roll songs, except maybe "Dreamer in My Dreams" on Being There. The rest of it, it's not bad stuff. You can forget that both bands had nowhere to go but down and that Tweedy's such a creep he can't keep a stable lineup for more than one album. Just get in touch with St. Genevieve, keep your hands on the wheel, and you'll be okay.

Trace was released in 1995. These are the songs on it:

  1. Windfall
  2. Live Free
  3. Tear Stained Eye
  4. Route
  5. Ten Second News
  6. Drown
  7. Loose String
  8. Out of the Picture
  9. Catching On
  10. Too Early
  11. Mystifies Me (Ron Wood cover; not a bad song, but when a RON WOOD cover is one of the better songs on your album, you're in deep trouble).

Trace (?), n. [F. trais. pl. of trait. See Trait.]

One of two straps, chains, or ropes of a harness, extending from the collar or breastplate to a whiffletree attached to a vehicle or thing to be drawn; a tug.


© Webster 1913

Trace, n. [F. trace. See Trace, v. t. ]


A mark left by anything passing; a track; a path; a course; a footprint; a vestige; as, the trace of a carriage or sled; the trace of a deer; a sinuous trace. Milton.

2. (Chem. & Min.)

A very small quantity of an element or compound in a given substance, especially when so small that the amount is not quantitatively determined in an analysis; -- hence, in stating an analysis, often contracted to tr.


A mark, impression, or visible appearance of anything left when the thing itself no longer exists; remains; token; vestige.

The shady empire shall retain no trace
Of war or blood, but in the sylvan chase.

4. (Descriptive Geom. & Persp.)

The intersection of a plane of projection, or an original plane, with a coordinate plane.

5. (Fort.)

The ground plan of a work or works.

Syn.-Vestige; mark; token. See Vestige.


© Webster 1913

Trace, v. t. [imp. & p. p. traced (?); p. pr. & vb. n. tracing.] [OF. tracier, F. tracer, from (assumed) LL. tractiare, fr.L. tractus, p. p. of trahere to draw. Cf. Abstract, Attract, Contract, Portratt, Tract, Trail, Train, Treat. ]


To mark out; to draw or delineate with marks; especially, to copy, as a drawing or engraving, by following the lines and marking them on a sheet superimposed, through which they appear; as, to trace a figure or an outline; a traced drawing.

Some faintly traced features or outline of the mother and the child, slowly lading into the twilight of the woods.


To follow by some mark that has been left by a person or thing which has preceded; to follow by footsteps, tracks, or tokens. Cowper.

You may trace the deluge quite round the globe.
T. Burnet.

I feel thy power . . . to trace the ways
Of highest agents.


Hence, to follow the trace or track of.

How all the way the prince on footpace traced.


To copy; to imitate.

That servile path thou nobly dost decline,
Of tracing word, and line by line.


To walk over; to pass through; to traverse.

We do tracethis alley up and down.


© Webster 1913

Trace, v. i.

To walk; to go; to travel. [Obs.]

Not wont on foot with heavy arms to trace.


© Webster 1913

Trace (?), n. (Mech.)

A connecting bar or rod, pivoted at each end to the end of another piece, for transmitting motion, esp. from one plane to another; specif., such a piece in an organ-stop action to transmit motion from the trundle to the lever actuating the stop slider.


© Webster 1913

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