Is there a word for specifically leaving behind a trace of yourself for others to find? Conceptually, something between a time capsule and geocaching.

  • 1
    Do you have a flaaaag?
    – tenfour
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 0:29
  • @tenfour That must be an Eddie Izzard reference. Very funny! But no, I don't think the OP means leaving a trace as in marking territory.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 0:32
  • 2
    When I first saw the title of this question, "Kilroy was here" immediately sprang to mind.
    – pavium
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 2:53

4 Answers 4


There are a few words that denote the idea of a personal mark or signature that could encapsulate one's name. The idea of marking something or leaving a trace behind is very similar to the idea of signing.

Further than that, however, are the following concepts:

  • breadcrumbs — a trail of such marks intended to lead someone somewhere
  • inscription — typically a carving intended as a unique signature; it can also refer to calligraphy
  • epigraph — "an inscription on a building, statue, or coin"
  • easter egg — in addition to the holiday game, easter eggs also refer to hidden features or signatures in software, film and books
  • reference — a less peculiar version of the concept
  • +1 for epigraph and easter egg. I think easter egg is particularly apt for geocaches, since the contents are usually a surprise.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 0:34

If you write your signature (or "[name] was here") as graffiti on a wall, that is a tag, and the action is tagging.

I have heard the term leave-behind for an object that you give away so that people will remember you (for example, salespeople leaving trinkets). This is marketing jargon, though, so it doesn't seem to match what you're looking for.

I can think of several nouns that could describe the thing or sign that is left (memento, trace, sign, mark, ...) but I can't think of a verb that describes the action of leaving it, in the sense that you seek.


Legacy seems a good choice, given OP's requested "time capsule" connotation.

The word has become a bit tainted of late, because of all that legacy computer code. But it still has plenty of positive associations, and leaving a good legacy for the next generation is dear to the hearts of many.


After reading an article from The Atlantic on the topic of latrinalia, the term 'presence identifying' came up to refer to people writing their names or expressing a form of 'presence', so that could be applied to people writing 'was 'ere' too I suppose.

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