When things begin running smoothly and successfully, they get “on track.” Some people substitute “untracked” for this expression, perhaps thinking that to be “tracked” is to be stuck in a rut.

“Untracked” in a positive sense can be traced back a century or more, mainly in sports writing; but it is liable to confuse readers who are used to “on track.” After all, if a train gets off track it gets derailed—wrecked—and to get off one track and onto another is to switch tracks, not get “untracked.”

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