A track lies in a fixed position and guides the direction of the things or the people who use it.

  • A train runs on a track.
train track
  • People and animals run on a track.
  • Drivers compete on a racetrack.
race track

The word "track" is commonly used when describing whether a direction or a decision is right or wrong:

  • Our company feels like it’s on the wrong track. (The direction for the company is not good.)
  • Greece’s economy got off track. (There was a problem.)
  • That’s a good answer. You’re on the right track.
  • Tracks in the snow indicated where the deer was heading. (Tracks are the impressions that an animal’s feet leave in soft surfaces such as dirt, mud, or snow.)

When this word is used a verb, it often means to follow a thing or a person:

  • The school tracks the progress of its students with a grading system.
  • The police are tracking a man who committed a murder.
  • Bill keeps track of his investments daily. (keep track = watch closely)
  • It’s important to keep track of your kids. You should always know where they are. ("keep track" is an idiom.)

There’s one more use for the word "track" when it’s used as a noun. A track is an audio recording that’s included on an album or a film.

  • The movie Star Wars has a very memorable soundtrack.
  • We recorded some tracks last weekend and uploaded them to Soundcloud.
  • How many tracks are on that CD?

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This page was first published on October 4, 2015. It was updated on October 19, 2015.