- a chemical element, as iron, copper, zinc, etc., essential in plant and animal nutrition, but only in minute quantities
- any element present in minute quantities in an organism, soil, water, etc.
See trace element in American Heritage Dictionary 4
- A chemical element required in minute quantities by an organism to maintain proper physical functioning.
- A minute quantity or amount: “The trace elements of belief vanish when it becomes apparent that the . . . officer . . . never has suffered the indignity of combat” (Lewis H. Lapham).
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