all material in a book that precedes the text proper, as the title page, copyright page, table of contents, dedication, and preface.
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Compare back matter.
Origin of front matter
An Americanism dating back to 1905–10
Also called preliminaries.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for front matter
another name for prelims (def. 1)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012