kick over the traces

trace

2 [treys]
noun
1.
either of the two straps, ropes, or chains by which a carriage, wagon, or the like is drawn by a harnessed horse or other draft animal. See illus. under harness.
2.
a piece in a machine, as a bar, transferring the movement of one part to another part, being hinged to each.
Idioms
3.
kick over the traces, to throw off restraint; become independent or defiant: He kicked over the traces and ran off to join the navy.

Origin:
1300–50; Middle English trais < Middle French, plural of trait strap for harness, action of drawing < Latin tractus a drawing, dragging; see tract1

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World English Dictionary
trace1 (treɪs)
 
n
1.  a mark or other sign that something has been in a place; vestige
2.  a tiny or scarcely detectable amount or characteristic
3.  a footprint or other indication of the passage of an animal or person
4.  any line drawn by a recording instrument or a record consisting of a number of such lines
5.  something drawn, such as a tracing
6.  chiefly (US) a beaten track or path
7.  memory trace See also engram the postulated alteration in the cells of the nervous system that occurs as the result of any experience or learning
8.  geometry the intersection of a surface with a coordinate plane
9.  maths the sum of the diagonal entries of a square matrix
10.  linguistics a symbol inserted in the constituent structure of a sentence to mark the position from which a constituent has been moved in a generative process
11.  meteorol an amount of precipitation that is too small to be measured
12.  archaic a way taken; route
 
vb (often foll by out)
13.  (tr) to follow, discover, or ascertain the course or development of (something): to trace the history of China
14.  (tr) to track down and find, as by following a trail
15.  to copy (a design, map, etc) by drawing over the lines visible through a superimposed sheet of transparent paper or other material
16.  a.  to draw or delineate a plan or diagram of: she spent hours tracing the models one at a time
 b.  to outline or sketch (an idea, policy, etc): he traced out his scheme for the robbery
17.  (tr) to decorate with tracery
18.  (tr) to imprint (a design) on cloth, etc
19.  (usually foll by back) to follow or be followed to source; date back: his ancestors trace back to the 16th century
20.  archaic to make one's way over, through, or along (something)
 
[C13: from French tracier, from Vulgar Latin tractiāre (unattested) to drag, from Latin tractus, from trahere to drag]
 
'traceable1
 
adj
 
tracea'bility1
 
n
 
'traceableness1
 
n
 
'traceably1
 
adv
 
'traceless1
 
adj
 
'tracelessly1
 
adv

trace2 (treɪs)
 
n
1.  either of the two side straps that connect a horse's harness to the swingletree
2.  angling a length of nylon or, formerly, gut attaching a hook or fly to a line
3.  kick over the traces to escape or defy control
 
[C14 trais, from Old French trait, ultimately from Latin trahere to drag]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

trace
late 14c., "to make a plan or diagram," from O.Fr. trasser "delineate, score, trace, follow, pursue" (12c.), from V.L. *tractiare "delineate, score, trace" (cf. Sp. trazar "to trace, devise, plan out," It. tracciare "to follow by foot"), from L. tractus "track, course," lit. "a drawing out," from pp.
stem of trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (1)). Meaning "to pass over" (a path, etc.) is attested from late 14c. Sense of "draw an outline of" is first recorded late 14c. Meaning "copy a drawing on a transparent sheet laid over it" is recorded from 1762.

trace
"straps or chains by which an animal pulls a vehicle," c.1300, from earlier collective plural trays, from O.Fr. traiz, pl. of trait "strap for harnessing, act of drawing," from L. tractus "a drawing, track," from stem of trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (1)).

trace
"track made by passage of a person or thing," c.1300, from O.Fr. trace, back-formation from tracier (see trace (v.)). Scientific sense of "indication of minute presence in some chemical compound" is from 1827. The verb in the sense of "follow by means of traces or tracks"
is recorded from c.1450. Traces "vestiges" is from c.1400. Tracer "bullet whose course is made visible" is attested from 1910.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

kick over the traces

Break loose from restraint, misbehave. For example, There's always one child who'll kick over the traces as soon as the bell rings. This metaphoric expression alludes to the straps attaching a horse to a vehicle, which the animal sometimes gets a leg over in order to kick more freely and thereby refuse to move forward. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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