When track and trail refer to following something, are they identical?

For example,

I followed him, tracking him in the snow until finally he got tired.

I trailed her to a shop in Kensington.


In this context, to track means to actively search for things like footprints or marks, to follow the route someone or something has taken.

The hunters tracked the bear deep into the forest, where they found its den

Meanwhile to trail means to follow someone or something's route, possibly by tracking it, or by keeping it in visual range.

The little boy trailed behind his older sister, complaining that his feet hurt.

  • Thanks a lot. Therefore their meaning mostly overlaps. Could I use them interchangeably?@Andrew – Young Jul 5 '18 at 22:35
  • 1
    @Young No. Tracking is actively looking for signs and following them, while trailing is simply following someone or something. The meanings overlap, but they are not the same. – Andrew Jul 6 '18 at 0:04

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