c. 1600, from French vestige "a mark, trace, sign" (16c.), from Latin vestigium "footprint, trace," a word of unknown origin.
"track, trace," 1823, used originally by travelers in South Africa, from Afrikaans spoor, from Dutch spoor, from Middle Dutch spor, cognate with Old English spor "footprint, track, trace," from Proto-Germanic *spur-am, from PIE *spere- "ankle" (see spurn).
"wooden model of a human foot used by shoemakers," from Old English læste "shoemaker's last," earlier last "track, footprint, footstep, trace," from Proto-Germanic *laisti- (source also of Old Norse leistr "the foot," Middle Dutch, Dutch leest "form, model, last," Old High German leist "track, footprint," German Leisten "last," Gothic laistjan "to follow"), related to Old English læran "to teach," from PIE root *lois- "furrow, track."
"the reading of traces of footsteps to determine the nature and peculiarities of what made them," 1855, from Latinized form of Greek ikhnos "a track, footprint" (which is of unknown origin) + -mancy "divination by means of."
"to follow or trace the footsteps of," 1560s, from track (n.). Meaning "leave a footprint trail in dirt, mud, etc." is from 1838. Of film and TV cameras, 1959. Related: Tracked; tracking.
"stone presenting a fossil footprint," 1841, from Latinized form of Greek ikhnos "a track, footprint" (which is of unknown origin) + -lite. Ichnite in the same sense is from 1854. Ichnology, "scientific study of fossil footprints," is from 1837.
So numerous have been the discoveries of fossil footmarks in Europe within a few years past, and so many species occur in this country, that it will be at least convenient to have them designated by some appropriate scientific terms, and to arrange them in systematic order. I propose the term Ichnolite ... to include them all and to be the name of the Class. [Edward Hitchcock, LL.D., "Final Report on the Geology of Massachusetts," 1841]
early 15c., from Old French investigacion (14c.), from Latin investigationem (nominative investigatio) "a searching into, a searching for," noun of action from past participle stem of investigare "to trace out, search after," figuratively "search into, investigate," from in- "in, into" (from PIE root *en "in") + vestigare "to track, trace," from vestigium "a footprint, a track" (see vestige).