front matter


: matter preceding the main text of a book

Examples of front matter in a Sentence

The conventions of the book are explained in the front matter.
Recent Examples on the Web Add pages for the front matter, back matter, index, glossary and other content. Peter Gregory, Forbes, 16 Mar. 2023 The front matter includes an alphabetical list of contributors, along with their professions, but none of their credits or even their studio affiliations. Farran Smith Nehme, WSJ, 18 Nov. 2022 Literary superstars such as Taylor have been eager to take on the role of both guide and medium, providing front matter that links the past with the present by placing classic texts in a contemporary context. Je Banach, The Atlantic, 8 Sep. 2022 Paging through this front matter feels like waiting for a haunted carnival ride to start, only to be wrong-footed. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 31 Oct. 2019 Some of Richard McGuire’s sequences are taxonomies: bird cages, hats, ice, or the collection of wire shapes that decorates the front matter of this book. The New York Review of Books, 13 Oct. 2016

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'front matter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1909, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of front matter was circa 1909

Dictionary Entries Near front matter

Cite this Entry

“Front matter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

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