Track vs tract

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Track and tract are two words that are often confused due to their close resemblance in pronunciation and spelling. We will examine the different definitions of track and tract, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Track may refer to a course used to race people, animals or mechanical devices against each other. Track may also mean a lane or path constructed by repeated use rather than by roadwork. Track may also mean a footprint or mark left by passing people, animals or mechanical devices, or the act of following such marks. Track may mean the rails upon which a train travels, the slot upon which a window or drapes slide, a line of thought or the following of someone or something’s progress. Track may be used as a noun or a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are tracks, tracked, tracking, tracker. The word track is derived from the Old French word trac meaning a trace left behind.

A tract may refer to a certain, large parcel of land. Tract may also mean a pamphlet, a short essay, usually on a religious subject. The word tract to mean parcel of land is derived from the Latin word tractus, meaning course or space. The word tract to mean a pamphlet or essay comes from the Latin word tractatus, meaning a treatise or written treatment.


Russian track athletes are continuing to struggle in their efforts to regain international eligibility, with officials denying many of their requests to compete as so-called neutrals. (The Los Angeles Times)

The third murder trial for a former Tulsa police officer in the death of his daughter’s boyfriend remains on track to begin in June. (U.S. News & World Report)

Improving communication with city officials about problems and tracking properties could lead to identifying new solutions, such as rental registration, Kneedler said. (The State Journal-Register)

And council member Dan Grenier encouraged supervisors to conduct a study of the tract’s trees to determine whether they constitute a woodland, and therefore must comply with the township’s natural resource protection ordinance — which places a 30-percent cap on how much woodland a development can remove from a property. (Bucks County Courier Times)

She relies on Chambers’ book for direction and support; however, her book may not challenge the reader, if the reader is seeking to read beyond quarterly religious tract genres. (The Decatur Daily)