The title of this question is clear:

"What is the difference (if any) between traceable vs trackable?"

Thank you in advance!

  • 2
    What did the dictionary have to say about the two words? What is your own comparative analysis after reading the various definitions for each?
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 9, 2020 at 21:10
  • trackable = (en adjective) Able to be tracked, or worthy of being tracked. traceable = (en adjective) Capable of being traced; possible to track down.
    – javase
    Jun 9, 2020 at 21:11
  • 1
    Please read the help for our differences tag to help improve your question. Jun 10, 2020 at 9:37
  • I'm sorry for distressing you, I only want to help. Jun 11, 2020 at 10:30

2 Answers 2


The main difference between the two terms which are often interchangeable appears to be their usage in the package delivery industry:

It would appear that the two words might be interchangeable. However, in the package delivery industry, “track and trace” are used as two separate ideas.

Tracking means determining the current location, and tracing means determining past locations of an item being delivered, generally using barcodes or RFID technology.

Thus, tracing means following the footsteps or a continuous line of something with the goal of finding the route (the journey), whereas tracking means finding a spot here and there where intermittent tracks have been left with the goal of finding the item or animal (the destination).


  • Thank you mister user121863, your answer made me understand thoroughly the difference in their meanings! (y)
    – javase
    Jun 10, 2020 at 0:07

Both are very similar terms that describe an the ability to determine where an object is at a certain point in time. Typically, tracking deals with the ability to find where something is at the current moment - if you are tracking an animal, or tracking a package you're shipping, you want to know where they are right now. Tracing, on the other hand, connotes a memory component, implying the ability to know the history of an item's location or origin.

A GPS tracker might show you where it is currently, but it wouldn't show you where it has been without additional software to keep a record. Conversely, contact tracing approaches for controlling the spread of coronavirus rely on retrospective analysis of contacts that have occurred in the past, rather than following a person's current movements.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Track_and_trace

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